HC Deb 22 March 1955 vol 538 cc1852-3
17. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to revise the new water-power capital construction plans, 1955–65, of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, in view of the onset of nuclear power generation of electricity and the recent White Paper on that subject.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

My right hon. Friend does not consider that the nuclear power programme requires any revision of the Board's plans so far submitted to him. The Board has told him, however, that it is considering the development of large-scale pumped storage schemes which may prove to be of increasing importance as the development of nuclear power proceeds.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that the conventional hydro-electric scheme which has been built in the Highlands has an anticipated length of life of 100 years? In view of the fact that nuclear power stations will probably be in operation within ten years, is it not desirable to reconsider any plans for building further conventional hydro-electric stations?

Mr. Stewart

These considerations are very much in our minds and in the minds of the authorities. I assure my hon. Friend, for reasons which I could well give him, that what we are doing now is very sound.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, so far as modern knowledge goes, at present the cost of the raw material for hydro-electric power stations will always be cheaper than the nuclear material, which has to be imported? The raw material for a hydroelectric scheme comes from the skies.

Sir D. Robertson

Can my hon. Friend say whether a single suitable site has been found so far in the United Kingdom for any one of these stations referred to in the White Paper?

Mr. Stewart

I am not aware that the authorities have yet decided upon one.

Mr. Rankin

Can the Minister say whether or not he has had any consultations with the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board with regard to the part it may play in nuclear power development?

Mr. Stewart

I am in very close touch with it in this matter. I assure the hon. Member that it is very much in hand.

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