HL Deb 26 July 1956 vol 199 cc303-4

3.12 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received full information of accidents in atomic energy plants in Canada and in the United States of America; whether any of these accidents have occurred in breeder plants like the one in Caithness; what new safeguards against such accidents have been adopted in the light of practical experience during the past year; and whether atom plants in this country are covered by insurance.]


My Lords, information on accidents in atomic energy plants is exchanged between the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the corresponding bodies in the United States of America and Canada. During last year an experimental breeder reactor in the United States was accidentally allowed to overheat and sustained some damage. I understand that there were no injurious effects outside the installation.

The Authority have incorporated in their fast breeder reactor in Caithness all the safety devices which their knowledge and experience suggest are necessary. With the growth of this experience. critical surveys of the precautions are constantly being made and modifications introduced. Some such modifications to the design have been made during the past year. The Authority are almost wholly financed from monies voted by Parliament, and they follow the practice of Her Majesty's Government in not insuring their plants.


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his very reassuring answer to the Question.