HC Deb 29 January 1969 vol 776 cc1320-1
28. Mr. Eadie

asked the Minister of Technology what is the cost to date of the breakdown of the Atomic Energy Authority's reactor at Chapelcross; how long the reactor is expected to be out of action; and what estimate he has made of the total resulting loss of revenue from electricity sales.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

About £200,000. It is not yet possible to forecast how long the No. 2 reactor will be out of commission. The loss of electricity sales to date is put at £1,700,000 and this will increase by £90,000 per month while the reactor is out of action.

The other three reactors continue to operate at about 90 per cent. load factor.

Mr. Eadie

Everyone will be glad that these faults have been remedied in the interests of the men employed, if nothing else, but does not my hon. Friend agree that this incident is a classic example of the recommendation made by the Select Committee on Science and Technology that all forms of energy production in this country should be subpected to independent investigation on the question of cost?

Mr. Mallalieu

This incident, which is most unfortunate, is not typical of anything which is now known. This reactor is a very old design, and what happened there is most unlikely to happen with a modern design.

Mr. Monro

Does not the Minister agree that the staff have shown great skill and initiative in trying to overcome this exceptionally difficult breakdown? Can he confirm that there will be no redundancies because of it?

Mr. Mallalieu

I should like notice of that question, but I very much hope that no redundancies will arise. I agree with what the hon. Member says about the great work that the staff are doing in trying to put this right.