HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc10-1W
58. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether, in view of the recent power crisis, he will now authorise the Central Electricity Generating Board to order a new nuclear power station with a reactor of the type developed at Winfrith Heath, Dorset.

Sir J. Eden

No; this must await conclusions based on the current review of the available reactor types.

Mr. John D. Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement about the effects of corrosion on the advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear power station programme and, in particular, why his Department authorised the Central Electricity Generating Board to proceed with this programme prior to the completion of laboratory tests on the effects of carbon dioxide gas on chrome steel.

Mr. Corfield

The C.E.G.B. has advised me that laboratory tests commenced in 1964 now indicate that a potential corrosion problem concerning 9 per cent. chrome steel might arise in the boilers of the A.G.R. nuclear power stations before their 25 year design life is complete. Laboratory investigations are continuing and, pending these, the possible extent and any economic implications of the problem remain uncertain. Responsibility for the choice and testing of materials used in nuclear power stations rests with the generating boards and their suppliers, subject ultimately to the reactors meeting my Department's safety standards before commissioning and during operation. The Central Electricity Generating Board has four A.G.R. stations under construction and the South of Scotland Electricity Board one. None of the A.G.R. stations is commissioned or will be commissioned until safety requirements are fully met.