HC Deb 14 November 1957 vol 577 cc1141-2
47. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to that section of the report prepared by the Atomic Energy Authority and placed in the House of Commons Library showing that in 1956 the two dead children whose bones showed the highest radiostrontium activity contained 1.55 strontium units and 1.3 strontium units, but that already in 1957 a one-year old Cumberland child showed 2.3 strontium units and a six-months old Liverpool child 2.4 strontium units, or a quarter of what is considered the maximum permissible dose; and whether he will in this light reconsider his decision to proceed with further hydrogen bomb explosions at Christmas Island.

The Prime Minister

The Medical Research Council has recommended that the level of strontium 90 in the bones of the general population, with its proportion of young children, should not exceed 100 strontium units. The recent figures of 2.3 and 2.4 units which the hon. Member quotes are only a small fraction of this. They are the highest so far observed in this country and are well above the average level. The situation with regard to strontium 90 is being kept under close and continuous review. As regards the last part of the Question, I have said that there will be no further tests in the immediate future; as regards any further tests that may be necessary. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply of 31st October.

Mr. Allaun

While we are all glad that there are to be no further explosions immediately, does the Prime Minister realise how we and the whole world would rejoice if he announced a lapsing of them? Would not this lessen the danger of Germany, France and others joining the nuclear arms race?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, but this Question is primarily one about science and strontium 90. I should like to point out that, although I know the hon. Member is a great authority, he has quoted figures which are very far from the mark. He has quoted as a quarter what amounts to something like a twentieth.