HC Deb 24 June 1968 vol 767 cc20-1
26. Mr. Eadie

asked the Minister of Technology what assistance his Department gives the National Coal Board in relation to any new technology in the winning of coal.

Mr. Fowler

The National Coal Board's pioneering work in this field is financed out of its revenues and forms part of its research programme which is on lines settled with the approval of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power. However, there are certain areas in which the Department gives limited assistance to the Board and to mining machinery manufacturers in specific technical developments.

Mr. Eadie

The House will not be too clear as to what that Answer means. Is my hon. Friend aware that at the Hanover Industrial Fair there was a coal machine which introduced the principle of using isotopes, which could to some extent improve the techniques of winning coal? Has he done anything about reporting this to the National Coal Board?

Mr. Fowler

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State will make any necessary reports to the N.C.B. but the resources of my Department and its various stations have always been available to the N.C.B., and to any other industry, and the A.E.A.'s reactor group works with the N.C.B. by providing sensing devices using isotopes fitted to coal-hewing machinery.