HC Deb 10 March 1964 vol 691 cc232-3
6. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science the numbers of naval architects attached to the Atomic Energy Authority.

Mr. Hogg

The research association design team seconded to the Authority includes two naval architects. This team also receives technical support from industry in the preparation of designs and has the assistance of other experienced naval architects and marine engineers as required.

Mr. Wainwright

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that we have sufficient naval architects attached to the Atomic Energy Authority? What intentions does his Department have to increase the numbers because of the Polaris submarines that we are building? Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider proposals for a nuclear surface vessel instead of one of the Polaris vessels, to ensure that we are not left behind in this race?

Mr. Hogg

Those are three rather different questions. The two naval architects to whom the Answer relates are engaged in preparing preliminary specifications and investigating special construction features required for nuclear ships. They are part of a team consisting of four marine engineers and two naval architects and they are concerned with surface nuclear ships. I do not think that I am responsible for the construction of nuclear submarines. The third part of the hon. Member's supplementary question escapes me.

Sir L. Ropner

Is it not the Minister of Transport who is primarily responsible for the design of atomic propulsion for the mercantile marine?

Mr. Hogg

Yes, Sir. That would be so if one proceeded to the extent of a full-scale vessel, but the Atomic Energy Authority is concerned with research into the necessary reactors. It is reasonable in those circumstances that the British Shipbuilding Research Association, for which I am answerable, should have seconded two naval architects to the Atomic Energy Authority.