HC Deb 29 March 1955 vol 539 cc182-3
20. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what progress has been made in the investigations concerning the genetic effects of increased radioactivity due to the explosion of nuclear weapons; and when he expects that it will be possible to begin research on measures designed to counteract these effects.

Mr. Bevins

Research on the genetic effects of radioactivity is necessarily of a long-term nature, but a certain amount of progress has been made and results are published in the scientific Press as they become available. The Medical Research Council's programme has, for the past eight years, included work on means of protection against the effects of radiation.

Mr. Fletcher

While I appreciate that, does the Minister realise that the public are becoming increasingly concerned to know what British scientists feel about the precise effect on the future of the human race of these nuclear explosions, are anxious to have full information in a convenient form and are also anxious that the Minister's Department should be able to assure them that some research is being conducted into what countermeasures can be investigated and taken?

Mr. Bevins

The urgency of the work is well appreciated, and it is, of course. going forward on an expanding scale. However, I am bound to say that none of the radioprotectors or regenerators that have so far been discovered have any effect on genetic damage to animals or human beings.