HC Deb 15 February 1966 vol 724 c1084
4. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the Minister of Technology on how many occasions since October, 1964 the Atomic Energy Authority has tendered for capital construction work, including research reactors and power station reactors worth over £50,000; what was the total value of these tenders; how many have been for export; how many have resulted in firm orders; if he will tabulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the value of each tender which resulted in a firm order, give the name and customer and country in each case, name the main sub-contractors and the value of the sub-contracted work; and to what extent it is Government policy for the Atomic Energy Authority to expand its construction department.

Mr. Cousins

The Authority has recently submitted tenders to two Finnish electricity undertakings. This is the first time such action has been taken and details must, for commercial reasons, remain confidential to the parties concerned. If these tenders are successful, the construction and manufacture of equipment will be carried out by industry. Every encouragement will be given to the Authority's efforts to obtain export orders of this kind.

Mr. Osborn

I thank the Minister for that reply. Does it mean that the A.E.A. is setting up in competition against the consortia? Since there is a debate today on rationalisation, would he set an example by persuading the A.E.A. to concentrate on research and leave commercial matters to other hands?

Mr. Cousins

No, I certainly would not take that step. It is not in competition with them. It has the authority to do a job which I spoke about in the House some time ago. At the moment it is the only body which is able to put forward proposals and tenders for the S.G.H.W.R. Therefore, it would be improper for me to try to prevent that from happening—and surely all hon. Members want the Atomic Energy Authority to get these orders if it can.