Mr. Clifford Williams
asked the Minister of Technology what was the total cost, including loss of revenue, of the delays to the Winfrith S.G.H.W. reactor reported in Paragraphs 151 and 152 of the 1968–69 Report of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.
§ Mr. Benn
The cost of rectifying the plant was about £6,000; the further cost arising from fuel failures is not easily assessed. The estimated revenue that might otherwise have been obtained is £200,000. A load factor of 45 per cent. for the first year of operation of this prototype reactor is considered to be a very satisfactory achievement.
The prototype S.G.H.W. reactor at Winfrith was not constructed solely to generate electricity, but to afford an opportunity to solve any development problems that might be thrown up. Achieving a high standard of water purification was part of the development programme. The time lost as a result of malfunctioning of the purification plant enabled other desirable experimental and engineering work to be carried out.