HC Deb 11 June 1979 vol 968 cc8-10
3. Mr. Mike Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects next to meet the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board.

Mr. David Howell

I meet the chairman from time to time.

Mr. Thomas

Can the right hon. Gentleman reassure my constituents in Newcastle that, when he next meets the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board, it will not be to cancel the orders for the advance gas-cooled reactor power stations at Torness and Heysham, especially the turbine generator orders, which are so important to them and to the power plant industry as a whole?

Mr. Howell

The approval for the new AGR turbine generators is going forward, and the generating boards are still assessing the tenders for the units. But this is a matter on which the Government's position is still being considered. The long-term health of the suppliers is a matter of importance to the Government, as it must be also to the generating boards.

Mr. Rost

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that Dr. Walter Marshall's report on combined heat and power is about to be published, and will he have discussions with the CEGB to ensure that we in this country attempt to stop the disgraceful waste of fuel in our power stations which could be making such a major contribution to solving our energy problems?

Mr. Howell

I understand that Dr. Marshall's report will be published in the next three months. Thereafter I hope very much that constructive proposals and ideas will develop from it.

Mr. Palmer

When the right hon. Gentleman meets Mr. England, the chairman of the CEGB, will he discuss the Government's plans for the reorganisation of the National Nuclear Corporation—a matter with which the CEGB is vitally concerned?

Mr. Howell

I agree strongly with the hon. Gentleman that these matters are linked closely and that the CEGB is vitally concerned with them. The Government are considering them urgently, and I hope to be able to make a statement on our decisions in the next few months, because these are crucial matters for the long-term health of our energy policy.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Will my right hon. Friend remember how much more efficient it is to concentrate nuclear power generation at places such as Heysham where the expertise is already established?

Mr. Howell

First, may I congratulate my hon. Friend on the position which she has acquired over the weekend as a result of the outcome of the elections? I accept that what she says has great validity, and certainly I shall bear it in mind.

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