66. Mr. Woodbum
asked the Minister of Education, as representing the Minister for Science, how far experiments at Dounreay have progressed; and what degree of success has been attained in developing a breeder reactor process.
§ Sir D. Eccles
The fast reactor has been undergoing commissioning trials before loading the enriched uranium fuel. These trials have proved more difficult than expected, but this has been due to problems of chemical engineering and not to nuclear problems. Enriched uranium is now being loaded and is expected to approach a critical state within the next few weeks. This reactor is an experiment in the development of fast breeder systems, and future successful exploitation will depend on the results obtained from its operation.
§ 67. Mr. Woodburn
asked the Minister of Education, as representing the Minister for Science, what extension is contemplated by the Government of nuclear research at Dounreay; and to what extent encouragement will be given to associated industries by the placing of development orders with firms in the north of Scotland area.
§ Sir D. Eccles
The Atomic Energy Authority's nuclear research programme at Dounreay is concerned mainly with the development of the fast reactor, which will occupy the resources of the establishment for many years. The Admiralty submarine reactor development programme at Dounreay is now getting under way. Firms in the 73W north of Scotland which have the necessary scientific and technical experience will certainly be given the opportunity of tendering for such development work as can be let out to industry.