HC Deb 24 June 1966 vol 730 cc155-8W
Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will provide a list of those advanced technical and scientific projects which Great Britain is undertaking in collaboration with European nations; what is the nature and purpose of each; how much money is involved; and when he expects them to achieve practical results.

13. Mr. George Thomson

The following is the list requested together with such details as are available:

Projects of the European Nuclear Energy Agency of O.E.C.D.

(a) The Dragon Reactor This has been built in the United Kingdom to demonstrate the basic technology of high temperature, helium-cooled reactors and to assess their economic possibilities. The overall cost of the project is £26.5 million and the United Kingdom contribution £10.9 million. The reactor has been producing data since August, 1964.

(b) The Halden Reactor This has been built in Norway to obtain experience in the operation of a boiling, heavy water reactor. 8he overall cost is £6.9 million and the United Kingdom contribution £0.8 million. The reactor is already producing data.

(c) The Nuclear Data Compilation Centre (Saclay, France) and the Computer Programme Library (Ispra, Italy) These are both supported by the United Kingdom with advice and material.

The Vulcain Project This is a project for joint Anglo/Belgian development of a pressurised water, nuclear reactor, moderated by heavy and light water. The British contribution so far has been £2,754,000 and it is estimated that the total cost to the United Kingdom will be £3,550,000.

The European Launcher Development Organisation (E.L.D.O.) The aim of the Organisation is the development and construction of space vehicle launchers for peaceful purposes and their associated equipment. The United Kingdom financial commitment to date is £48 million out of a total of £120 million. Of the ten planned test launchings in the initial development programme four have been successfully completed, the last, in May, 1966, being the first of the whole vehicle, consisting of the live first stage and dummy second and third stages and test satellite.

The European Space Research Organisation (E.S.R.O.)

(a) Space Satellite Programme

  1. (i) Two small near-Earth satellites (E.S.R.O. 1 & 2) due for launching in 1967 carrying 10 United Kingdom experiments, amongst some from other countries.
  2. (ii) Two medium near-Earth satellies (T.D.I and T.D.2) due for launching in 1969–70 carrying 5 United Kingdom experiments, amongst some from other countries.
  3. (iii) One highly ecentric orbit satellite (H.E.O.S.A.) due for launching in 1968, carrying 3 United Kingdom experiments, amongst some from other countries.
  4. (iv) A large astronomical satellite (L.A.S.), carrying a single scientific package, planned to be launched about 1972. The United Kingdom has produced a design study for the package, the development of which by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is being considered by E.S.R.O.

(b) Sounding Rocket Programme 1964–1967 Twelve United Kingdom experiments have been launched and 35 more are planned within the total European programme. Among the successful launchings to date seven were of the British Skylark sounding rocket, which will also play a substantial part in the forthcoming programme. The total United Kingdom contribution to E.S.R.O. so far is £7,154,000 which represents about 25 per cent, of the total cost.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (C.E.R.N.) This organisation has constructed and operates an international laboratory at Meyrin near Geneva which is one of the world's leading centres for research in high energy, fundamental particles. For this purpose the laboratory contains a 28 GeV proton accelerator and a 600 MeV synchro-cyclotron. Intersecting storage rings are being constructed for the 28 GeV accelerator which will produce protrons at much higher energies. The United Kingdom contributes 2216 per cent, of the cost of the programme and has so far provided £70 million including £3.6 million for the current financial year.

The Channel Tunnel A geological and geophysical survey of the possible routes for a bored, or submerged, tunnel has been completed the first results of which and a revised cost study is now available. The full results will be available during the summer. The studies have cost £2.1 million, shared equally by Britain and France. If there is an early decision to build the tunnel, the expected cost would be about £160 million and it could be in operation in the mid-1970's.

Aviation Projects in Collaboration with France

(a) Concord A project for the joint development of a civil supersonic, transport aircraft. The United Kingdom financial commitment so far is £70 million of which some £23 million have been spent. Two prototype aircraft are under construction.

(b) Jaguar A project for the joint development of an aircraft and engine to meet R.A.F. requirements for an advanced trainer and a strike aircraft, and French Navy and Air Force requirements for a strike aircraft and a trainer variant.

(c) Variable Geometry Aircraft Studies are being made of a variable geometry (swing-wing) concept which could be developed as a joint airframe and engine project to meet British and French military requirements.

(d) Martel A project for the joint development of an air-to-surface guided missile.

Sea Dart An Anglo-Dutch project for the joint development of a ship-to-air guided missile and associated system.

Lightweight Jet Lift Engine An Anglo/French/German project for the joint development of a light weight, jet-lift engine, based on the Rolls Royce R.B.162, for vertical take-off aircraft.

AN/USD 501 (C.189) An Anglo/German/Canadian project for the joint development of a reconnaissance drone system to meet military requirements.

International Agency for Research on Cancer This organisation was established in September 1964 and has eight participating nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Each participant contributes United States $150,000 annually.

Cross Channel Current Link The Central Electricity Generating Board and Electricité de France constructed a Direct Current link for power exchange which was commissioned in 1961–2 The total cost was £6 million shared jointly by the two bodies. In 1964–65 exports to France were 296 million kwh and imports 77 m. kwh.

Natural Gas Projects (a) There is Anglo/French co-operation in the importation of liquefied methane gas into the United Kingdom from Algeria. By March 1965, 95 million therms had been delivered to the Canvey Island terminal. (b) a technical study, without commitment, has been undertaken jointly by the Gas Council and a Netherlands concern on the problems of constructing and operating a submarine pipeline for conveying natural gas from Holland to Britain. In addition to the above projects there are close relationships between a large number of British and European bodies in the field of advanced science and technology and Britain is a member with other European countries of numerous organisations of this type. This is the case for instance in the field of research into safety in mines, into fisheries and conservation, nuclear energy, flame science, pollution problems, road safety and construction etc., etc.