HC Deb 02 March 1965 vol 707 cc1105-7
1. Mr. Norwood

asked the Minister of Technology if he will consider the transfer of the peaceful functions of the Atomic Energy Authority to a separate board.

The Minister of Technology (Mr. Frank Cousins)

No, Sir.

Mr. Norwood

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, to some extent, this development will become inevitable owing to the increased complexity both of the peaceful development of nuclear energy and of the military application?

Mr. Cousins

The original Question was not quite related to the comment. The inevitability of this is not certain, of course, but in my view the existing structure of the Authority enables it to carry out its responsibilities for the civil application of atomic energy. As my hon. Friend knows, I am seeking power, through the Science and Technology Bill, to extend the research functions of the Authority outside atomic energy.

9. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Technology what review he has made of the proportion of the resources of the Atomic Energy Authority devoted to marine reactors and to power stations, respectively; and what conclusions he has reached.

Mr. Cousins

The Atomic Energy Authority keeps its programme of reactor development under continuous review and keeps me informed about it. At present about one-tenth of the Authority's effort on reactor development is devoted to marine work.

Mr. Digby

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that an overdue proportion of the work tends to be concentrated on the Central Electricity Generating Board? Does he agree that this tends to be a bad thing and has undoubtedly led to concentration on graphite moderated reactors, which might not be the best thing? Will he keep a proportion between the work for the Generating Board and reactors for other purposes, so as to keep the balance as level as it can be kept?

Mr. Cousins

Yes, Sir, I certainly will.

Mr. David Price

Now that Lord Hinton has retired from the chairmanship of the Central Electricity Generating Board, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ensure that there is a rather better working relationship between the C.E.G.D. and the A.E.A. on their forward nuclear reactor programme, and in particular will he consider putting a member of the Board of the C.E.G.D. on the Board of the A.E.A.?

Mr. Cousins

I think that the hon. Gentleman had better put down a Question about that. I do not think that the relationship between the C.E.G.B. and the A.E.A. is within my province.

Mr. George Y. Mackie

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that in reviewing these projects he bears in mind the fact that the success of the first reactor at Dounreay must be taken advantage of at the earliest possible moment in proceeding with the programme to produce a prototype commercial fast reactor?

Mr. Cousins

Provided that that question is not designed to commit me, I certainly will.