HC Deb 07 February 1985 vol 72 cc1089-90
4. Mr. Hayes

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what effect a 1 megaton nuclear burst at a height of 300 miles would have on the equipment and resources in his charge.

5. Mr. Malins

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he is taking to harden vulnerable equipment in his charge against the effects of nuclear electromagnetic pulse.

Mr. Scott

The principal effect of a high level nuclear blast of 1 megaton would be an electromagnetic pulse. This could cause very widespread damage to telecommunications, electronic equipment, and electricity supply and appliances if they were not protected. Much work and research is presently going on throughout the world on the question of protection against the effects of such a pulse, and we in Northern Ireland will make full use of all available information to protect essential equipment such as that designated for civil defence purposes.

Mr. Hayes

I am grateful for that answer. Will my hon. Friend ensure that technical advice on those matters is available for those who need to know?

Mr. Scott

A great deal of work is going on and we shall ensure, for example, that the new purpose-built buildings in Northern Ireland, which are planned for completion by 1988, will be fully protected up to the most modern standards.

Mr. John David Taylor

In view of the serious nature of the Minister's reply, will he assure the House that the Government have no such intentions in Northern Ireland?

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