HC Deb 03 November 1980 vol 991 cc946-7
13. Mr. Lennox-Boyd

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has considered what terms of reference he will give to the inspector conducting the public inquiry for the first pressurised water reactor, in the event if its being granted safety clearance by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.

Mr. Norman Lamont

No decision has been taken, but my right hon. Friend and I have made it clear that the inquiry will be full and thorough.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Does my hon. Friend agree that the public inquiry will be unusual, because it cannot take place unless and until the pressurised water reactor has been given qualified approval by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate? Does he accept that it will undermine the authority and standing of the inspectorate if its findings are able to be overruled at the inquiry?

Mr. Lamont

In a sense, that is right. Preliminary safety work has to be done by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, which has an enormous job. It is having a tremendous burden of work put on it.

Mr. Maclennan

What is the target date for the completion of the public inquiry?

Mr. Lamont

I do not have a date for completion, but it is the Government's intention and belief that we shall be in a position to start the inquiry in 1982.