HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 c1029
42. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a comprehensive and detailed statement up to date on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, particularly as applied to the propulsion of ships.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

Details of the expanded nuclear power programme were given in this House by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General on 5th March.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's second Annual Report, published last July, described the extensive work of the Authority on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the third Annual Report is in preparation.

The Committee which has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, and on which all the interests concerned are represented, are studying the application of nuclear power for marine purposes with a view to achieving nuclear propulsion of merchant ships in an economic form. A number of different types of reactor are being intensively investigated.

Mr. Hughes

I thank the Prime Minister for that reply, but does he realise that the United States and Russia are well advanced in this sphere, and that Britain's commerce and credit demand that, with the assistance of science, we should press forward quickly with the application of nuclear energy to ships?

The Prime Minister

I am not informed about the first point, but I can assure the hon. and learned Member that we are pressing forward with all possible speed.