HC Deb 30 June 1958 vol 590 cc868-9
35. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Supply what proportion of the initial capital cost of modifying power stations for producing missile war heads will be borne on the Vote of his Department.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I presume the hon. Gentleman has in mind the modification to certain civil power stations to enable them to produce, should the need arise, a grade of plutonium suitable for military purposes.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority will pay the Central Electricity Generating Board for the capital cost of the modifications required; and will, in turn, recover this expenditure as an element in the price of military plutonium which is bought by my Department, and resold to the Services in the form of complete weapons. The cost of the modifications will in this way be recovered from the Defence Votes over a period.

Mr. C. R. Hobson

Whilst the capital cost is to be met by the Vote on his Department, will the Minister state whether the extra cost of the fuel to the Atomic Energy Authority will also be met?

Mr. Jones

The Question related to the capital cost, but it is true that any extra operating cost will, in effect, be incurred by my Department in the prices of products bought by my Department.

Mr. Robens

May we be assured that extra charges likely to be involved by reason of the use of the atomic power stations for the making of plutonium will not fall on the civil power programme or on the electricity consumer?

Mr. Jones

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the arrangements decided on are designed to place the burden of the cost on my own Department and, through my Department, on the Service Departments.