§ Mr. Woof
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether progress is being made in arrangements for the pooling of knowledge and resources in the refining of uranium under treaty arrangements with West Germany, among other countries; and whether he will take steps to ensure that this does not increase the possibility of nuclear weapons being manufactured by non-nuclear powers.
§ Mr. David Price
I assume that the treaty arrangements to which the hon. Member refers are in respect of the centrifuge collaboration agreement (Cmnd. 4793) with the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands for the enrichment of uranium. The pooling of gas centrifuge technology has been proceeding smoothly since September, 1971, following the formation of the tripartite companies set up under the Agreement.
The provision of the agreement regarding classification and security, international safeguards and Governmental supervision were expressly designed to limit the risk of exploitation of the process leading to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Government take the view that international collaboration in this sensitive field is in itself a valuable assurance against misuse.