HC Deb 05 March 1969 vol 779 c417
31. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Technology if he will issue a direction to the Atomic Energy Authority under Section 4 of the Science and Technology Act, to carry out research on improving the quality of welding.

Mr. Fowler

As part of its nuclear development programme the Atomic Energy Authority is making a substantial effort in this field. We are keeping under review the possibility of the issue of a requirement to the authority in respect of non-nuclear applications.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the work which has been done by the Reactor Fuel Laboratory at Springfield has been in connection with the nuclear programme and that substantial fall-out could exist in the general welding sphere, in which hundreds of millions of £s have been wasted annually through welding defects? Will he consider my suggestion carefully and issue a Section 4 direction and so enable this work to be dispersed throughout the welding industry?

Mr. Fowler

We will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion carefully. We are aware of what is being done at Springfield. We already support to the tune of £290,000 a year the work that is done at the Welding Institute.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

What efforts are being made by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in this respect? Is the fullest possible advantage being taken of the research that has already been done by the research association?

Mr. Fowler

There is close co-operation between the authority and the Welding Institute, which is what I think the hon. Gentleman had in mind when he referred to the "research association". Both my Department and the authority have nominated representatives on the Research Board of the Welding Institute.