HL Deb 08 July 1959 vol 217 cc926-7

Clause 1, page 1, line 19, at end insert:— ("(1A) Notwithstanding that a nuclear site licence is for the time being in force or is not for the time being required in respect thereof, no person other than the Authority shall use any site—

  1. (a) for any treatment of irradiated matter which involves the extraction there from of plutonium or uranium; or
  2. (b) for any treatment of uranium such as to increase the proportion of the isotope 235 contained therein,
except under, and in accordance with the terms of, a permit in writing for such a use of the site for purposes of research or development granted by the Authority or a government department; and any fissile material produced under such a permit shall be disposed of only in such manner as may be approved by the authority by whom the permit was granted.")


My Lords, with your Lordships' permission I should like to speak on Amendments 3, 6, 8 and 27 together. The present group of Amendments ensures Government control over the extraction of plutonium and other dangerous fissile materials which might be used as components for nuclear weapons. The new subsection (1A) of Clause 1 (Amendment No. 3) prohibits any person other than the Atomic Energy Authority (or a Government Department) from using any site either (a) for extracting plutonium or uranium 233 from any irradiated matter, or (b) for enriching, uranium by increasing the proportion of the isotope 235. The subsection further provides that the Authority or a Government Department may permit another concern to conduct these operations for purposes of research or development only, subject to conditions laid down in the permit. Any fissile material produced under the permit is to be disposed of only as the Authority or Department may approve.

Clause 1 (3) is to be expanded by Amendment No. 6 so that the Minister may attach to a nuclear site licence conditions about the treatment, handling, and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel, the material from which plutonium is extracted. The next Amendment, No. 8, has the effect of making any contravention of the new subsection (1A) an offence, punishable with a fine of imprisonment up to five years. Amendment No. 27, which is the Amendment to Clause 11 (2)(f), the application to Northern Ireland, is consequential. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Mills.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.