HC Deb 10 March 1976 vol 907 cc419-21
41. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has made in his discussions with EEC Foreign Ministers in obtaining European investment in Great Britain in nuclear and other projects.

Mr. Rowlands

When Energy Ministers of the Nine meet on 25th March they will discuss the recent Commission proposals for developing alternative sources of energy, which stem from the decisions taken at the European Council in Rome last December. These include a proposal enabling the Commission to float loans for contributing to the financing of nuclear power stations.

Mr. Stonehouse

As British nuclear technology is ahead of the rest of the EEC put together, will my hon. Friend in the discussions continue his attempts to have the JET investment in Britain? What more does he intend to do to achieve that?

Mr. Rowlands

The Government attach considerable importance to the success of the JET project and, in common with the majority of Community members, I favour the preparation of further studies on site-cost estimates and construction times. Of course, the United Kingdom site at Culham is well qualified in this respect.

Mr. Rost

Can we be surprised that our European partners are not keen to site the JET project in this country, in view of the way in which the Secretary of State has sabotaged the collaborative European Dragon project, for which Britain was the host country? Has that not undermined all confidence and good will about Britain's willingness to co-operate in collaborative projects?

Mr. Rowlands

There is no connection between the Dragon project and the JET project. We terminated the Dragon project as we were bearing 48 per cent. of the costs and it was not considered worth while in the context of our own nuclear policy.

Mr. Palmer

Will my hon. Friend say when we can expect a further statement on the siting of the JET project? Is it likely to be at Culham?

Mr. Rowlands

It is impossible for me to make a forecast, but there are to be further meetings of the Council to deal with the research project in the coming months. It is impossible for me to forecast when a decision will be taken.