HC Deb 28 March 1960 vol 620 cc948-9
37. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Health, as representing the Minister for Science, in view of the fact that radioactivity in the air in Belgium was twenty-five times the normal on 29th February, 16 days after the Sahara test atomic explosion, and that rainfall on that day was 600 times more radioactive than normal, what comparable increase has been recorded in Great Britain since that date.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Fission-products believed to be due to the French atomic explosion were detected in air in the United Kingdom in the period 27th February to 1st March and in rain on 29th February. The total radioactivity from fission-products during this period of four days reached about twice that still being recorded from earlier nuclear explosions but was less than one per cent. of the normal amount of naturally-occurring radioactivity in air. The total radioactivity from fission-products in rain on 29th February was about twice that from fission-products present on the average from earlier nuclear tests, but less than a tenth of the total a year ago.

Mr. Allaun

Whilst thanking the Minister for that answer, which explains why on 29th February he told me that there had been no increase in fall-out, and in view of this reply, would he consult his right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary and discuss with him the possibility of urging France not to proceed with her second and larger test which is now due?

Mr. Walker-Smith

That is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary. Of course, the hon. Gentleman and the House will have in mind that the small increase in radioactivity over the short period to which I have referred—arising after my last answer to the House, as the hon. Gentleman was good enough to say—was due mostly to short-lived radioactivity, and only very small amounts of the long. lived isotopes, such as strontium 90 and cæsium 137, were present.

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