HC Deb 09 November 1953 vol 520 cc586-7
33. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Supply what steps he is taking to secure a measure of collaboration between British and American scientists and engineers responsible for their respective nuclear power projects and interchange of data and information, in view of the almost simultaneous constructional periods of the breeder reactor designed for a capacity of approximately 50,000 kilowatts of electricity, in Britain, and the similar reactor shortly to be commenced in the United States of America and designed for a capacity of 60,000 kilowatts, in accordance with the official announcement on 22nd October, 1953, by a commissioner of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

Mr. Sandys

The Government have on a number of occasions informed the United States Administration that, in the field of atomic energy, we should welcome collaboration on a reciprocal basis. However, the United States Atomic Energy Commission continues to be precluded by legislation from any effective exchange of information on these matters.

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the march of events in the last few months and the almost simultaneous construction of these two pilot plants for the application of industrial atomic power, one in America and the other in Britain, is it not possible for representation to be made to the United States Government with a view to the amendment of their existing statute to allow for a measure of reciprocity and the exchange of information?

Mr. Sandys

I do not think it is for us to recommend to the United States any alteration in their legislation. I do not think that such a suggestion would be welcomed by them any more than we would welcome in this House proposals from them for legislation here. I do not think that there is anything more which Her Majesty's Government can do to make quite clear to the United States Administration our readiness to exchange information in this field. We have made it perfectly clear that we consider that there would be advantage and benefit in doing so to both countries, and that there undoubtedly is waste of effort going on at the present time.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

May we take it from that reply that there has been some discussions with the authorities on the other side of the Atlantic on this matter, but that no progress has been made?

Mr. Sandys

I think the right hon. Gentleman sums it up quite correctly.

Mr. Chetwynd

In the meantime, is there any reason why we should not pass on to the United States the results of industrial research which we have made?

Mr. Sandys

I have taken the view that, while we would be only too glad to exchange information, we should preserve the principle of reciprocity.