HL Deb 15 July 1959 vol 218 cc6-7

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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, with reference to the low-power reactor to be operated jointly with the European Nuclear Energy Agency at Winfrith Heath, (1) which are the participating countries; (2) what is the United Kingdom participation in staff and otherwise; and (3) on what principle capital investment will be allocated as between the participants.]


My Lords, the noble Viscount's question refers to the low-power reactor "Zenith". This installation, which is one of the Atomic Energy Authority's installations at Winfrith Heath, will be used mainly to further the work of the European Nuclear Energy Agency project for research on a high temperature gas-cooled reactor. The project will pay rent to the Atomic Energy Authority for its use. The text of the Agreement concerning this project was placed in the Library on 23rd March, and I would refer the noble Viscount to the Agreement for the answer to the first part of his question. It is hoped that about half the professional staff will be provided from signatory countries other than the United Kingdom. The allocation of capital investment was determined after considerable negotiation between the parties.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. Assuming that the original cost of this reactor fell upon United Kingdom funds, in any subsequent financial year will the United Kingdom reap the full benefit of that fact? Secondly, can the noble Lord give the House an assurance that the control of this reactor will vest in the United Kingdom Executive and not pass to any of these other countries?


My Lords, the answer to the first question is that the total cost of the project is estimated to be £13.6 million. Of this sum £10 million will be contributed by the participants. The United Kingdom will, in addition, make up the balance of £3.6 million and will retain ownership of the reactor and other equipment in this country when the project is wound up. The work will be carried out by the Atomic Energy Authority, but of course, as the noble Viscount will see from the Agreement, all participating countries have their say on various matters in connection with the project.