HC Deb 29 June 1959 vol 608 cc24-5
20. Mr. Palmer

asked the Paymaster-General if he will state the amount of money already spent on the proposal, now abandoned, to modify certain civil nuclear power stations for the production of military plutonium including all research, design and development charges; and what is the anticipated cost of the military plutonium modifications at Hinkley Point nuclear power station which it is proposed to complete.

Sir I. Horobin

The payments to be made in respect of the modifications at Hinkley Point, and of any nugatory expenditure incurred elsewhere, will be the subject of negotiations and I regret that I cannot yet say what the cost will be.

Mr. Palmer

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that a year ago in an Adjournment debate I argued that this modification was unnecessary and wasteful? I was thoroughly rebuked by the hon. Gentleman for my trouble. Is the hon. Gentleman now quite certain that the modification must be carried out at Hinkley Point, and will he in future not be quite so cocksure?

Sir I. Horobin

It was not a question of being cocksure. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman has not followed these matters with his usual care. A great deal has happened since then. In particular, there has been a highly successful agreement between the Governments of the United States and this country from which we are busily engaged in obtaining great benefits. Because of a reconsideration of the whole situation we have made sensible modifications in the policy. We do not stay put for ever.

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