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Parliamentary Questions

The following answers were received between Tuesday 6 September and Wednesday 5 October 2005
DEFENCE
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance relating to the application of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. [14025]
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 21 July 2005]: The Joint Service Publication 765 “The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for Injury, Illness and Death due to Service (AFCS)” issued on 6 April 2005 will be placed in the Library. This document provides guidance on the AFCS, offering further explanation of the rules of the scheme as set out in Statutory Instrument 439 of 2005, including providing examples of how the rules are applied and how benefits are calculated. JSP 765 can also be found on the internet at www.mod.uk/issues/pensions and select heading “JSP 765 The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for Injury, Illness or death due to Service”.
A Veterans Agency operational guide supporting the full IT-lead decision-making process which is due to be introduced later this year is currently being produced and will also be provided when complete by December 2005.

Iraq
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) financial assistance, (b) technical assistance and (c) personnel his Department is contributing to the clearing of mines in Iraq. [14988]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group provides mentoring for the Iraqi Army 70 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company. 70 EOD Company, when it reaches Full Operational Capability, will have the ability to conduct large scale mine clearing operations.
UK Royal Engineers based in Southern Iraq clear mines when necessary for operational purposes. The UK plays a much greater role in dealing with the large scale problem of abandoned unexploded ordnance in southern Iraq. To date more than 880,000 items of unexploded ordnance have been recovered or destroyed by UK forces in MND(SE).

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what purpose scientists from (a) his Department and (b) the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston are engaged in collaboration with scientists at the US Sandia National Library on the SPHINX x-ray simulator. [14936]
Mr. Ingram: Ministry of Defence scientists are not engaged in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories on the SPHINX x-ray simulator.
The SPHINX simulator has been used by AWE scientists in collaboration with Sandia National laboratories under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement to conduct thermostructural response and imaging experiments.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what purpose marginal initiation characterisation tests are conducted at Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston; how many have been conducted since July 2004; and what the cost is of each such test. [14937]
Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom Marginal Initiation Characterisation Test (MICT) has been developed as a small-scale explosives test to screen energetic materials and ultimately characterise the effects that ageing, temperature, density and composition have on their sensitivity (i.e. safety) and performance. Since July 2004, 23 tests have been undertaken. The approximate cost for a single test is £250.

PFI/PPP Schemes
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) private finance initiative and (b) public private partnership schemes he expects to achieve financial closure between 1 July and 31 December. [12173]
Mr. Ingram: HM Treasury (HMT) defines public private partnerships (PPP) as privately financed projects and other forms of joint ventures, but excludes prime contracts, partnering and other outsourcing deals. This answer is based on the HMT definition of PPP.
Based on current planning assumptions the following projects are expected to achieve financial closure between 1 July and 31 December:
Allenby-Connau

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