HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc396-8
56. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister if, in the light of the subsequent events at Windscale, he has considered the Trade Union Conference resolution, submitted to him, asking the Government for an immediate inquiry into, and report on, health hazards arising from the use of radioactive materials, whether for military, industrial or other purposes.

The Prime Minister

Health hazards arising from the use of radioactive materials are under constant study by a number of expert bodies in this country and by international agencies on which this country is represented. Reports are issued as the results of measurements, and the conclusions to be drawn from them, become available.

Draft regulations governing the use of ionising radiations in industry and a code of practice governing the use of radioactive substances in hospitals have recently been issued. The legislation which governs the discharge of radioactive wastes is under review now. With so much attention and effort being devoted to this subject, I see no advantage in an additional or special inquiry.

Mr. Allaun

Is it not correct that the M.R.C. Report presented last year was based on investigations carried out nearly three years ago and which are now out of date, and that since then radioactivity has greatly increased and that all scientific opinion favours a reduction of the safety limit allowed?

The Prime Minister

That is why these draft regulations governing the use in industry to which the hon. Gentleman's Question referred have been issued and why the code of practice for the use of radioactive substances in hospitals has been issued. All I had to answer was whether some new and different system of management and inquiry into these affairs should be instituted. In my view, the instruments which we have at our service are the right ones and should not be added to and might even be impeded by superimposing another inquiry on them.

Mr. J. Hynd

Can the Prime Minister say who has issued these regulations in industry and whether they are available to the public or are in the Library?

The Prime Minister

This Committee was set up under the Act of 1948 and the code of practice and the regulations are issued in the ordinary way by the appropriate authorities, just like regulations governing factories.