HC Deb 12 March 1984 vol 56 cc11-2
11. Mrs. Currie

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what has been the total cost to public funds to date of the new advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear power stations at Heysham and Torness.

Mr. Giles Shaw

I am advised that the construction cost incurred by the CEGB to 31 December 1983 of the Heysham II power station was £777 million. Electricity in Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mrs. Currie

Will my hon. Friend comment on the excellent progress that has been made on both sites? Does that not give the lie to the notion that new power stations cannot be built on time?

Mr. Shaw

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that matter. It is a fact that both the Heysham II and Torness reactors are moving to time and cost. That is no mean achievement.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Do costs to the public include reprocessing costs based on ALARA — as low as reasonably achievable — or ALATA — as low as technically achievable — in terms of radiation discharges? Is the Minister aware that if the Government pursue the ALARA route and do not commit themselves fully to ALATA, they will further damage the environment of constituencies such as mine?

Mr. Shaw

I am aware of the concern that the hon. Gentleman frequently expresses about matters affecting the environment in his constituency, but he will be aware that British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. is the prime company involved in reprocessing in this country, and that the activities of that plant are fully licensed and regulated by the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Is my hon. Friend aware that one of the jokes in my constituency used to be that if one wanted to work for large sums of money, while making little effort, one went to work at Heysham I? Will my hon. Friend confirm that, fortunately, that situation has been significantly changed by the remarkable progress of Heysham II, which not only is on time and on cost but in real terms will be cheaper than Heysham I?

Mr. Shaw

My hon. Friend is right that Heysham I encountered substantial delays due to many changes in the design. The advantage at Heysham II is that, with the benefit of consistency of design, one gets consistency of result.