HC Deb 07 February 1958 vol 581 cc220-1W
Mr. Steele

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in view of the recent visit to this country of Admiral Rickover, he will make a statement about the future of British plans to build a nuclear-propelled submarine.

Mr. R. Allan

The plan for building a British nuclear submarine is going ahead. Good progress has been made on the building for the prototype reactor at Dounreay.

Admiral Rickover came to this country at our invitation, under the agreement between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government on the exchange of information on nuclear propulsion for submarines.

While in this country the Admiral had long talks with those concerned in the Admiralty, with the contractors and with the Atomic Energy Authority. His help and advice was most valuable.

Captain Kerby

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will give an assurance that no reduction is contemplated in the development of nuclear reactors for marine purposes with special reference to H.M.S. "Dreadnought" and the other nuclear submarine.

Mr. R. Allan

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave today to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele). No slowing down is contemplated in the project.

I am not clear exactly what my hon. Friend has in mind in his reference to nuclear reactors for marine purposes. Apart from the submarine project, no nuclear reactor for marine purposes is being developed at present. The possibilities of nuclear propulsion for merchant ships are being examined by the authorities concerned and technical study of the problems involved is in progress.

As to the reference to "the other nuclear submarine" as yet no second submarine has been planned.