HC Deb 25 October 1972 vol 843 cc306-7W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the multi-national European links which the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, British nuclear companies and contractors have negotiated in recent years and the rôle each such enterprise was designed to perform.

Mr. Emery

The UKAEA has not in recent years negotiated the setting up of any new enterprises with organisations in other European countries. However, it has well established and good working arrangements with its European counterparts for the exchange of research and development information. In particular, the Authority has been a signatory to agreements covering the OECD Dragon (HTR) project since 1959.

British Nuclear Fuels Limited, in which the UKAEA is at present sole shareholder, has in recent years associated in three multi-national companies, CENTEC GmbH, URENCO Ltd.—both formed pursuant to the intergovernmental agreement of 4th April, 1970, on collaboration in the development and exploitation of the gas centrifuge process—and United Reprocessors GmbH. The rôle each of these enterprises is designed to perform is set out in the Annual Report of British Nuclear Fuels Limited.

The Radiochemical Centre Limited, also at present wholly owned by the UKAEA, has formed a subsidiary company, Amersham Buehler GmbH, in conjection with the German firm Buehler & Company, to market its products in West Germany.

As regards the two design and construction companies, British Nuclear Design and Construction has a licence arrangement with Brown Boveri (Mannheim) for the promotion of the AGR system; The Nuclear Power Group has agreements to collaborate on thermal and fast reactor systems with various European companies including: Kraftwerk Union AG. Federal Republic of Germany. Agip Nucleare SpA. Italy. Belgonucleaire SA. Belgium. Interatom GmbH. Federal Republic of Germany. NV Neeratom. Netherlands.

TNPG is also one of four European companies shareholders in Inter-Nuclear, a company incorporated in Belgium to exploit the HTR commercially; and is a member of the Gas Breeder Reactor Association, an association of organisations which supports a team of engineers in Brussels to carry out feasibility and economic studies on the gas-cooled breeder reactor.

Also, in the private sector, there are a large number of manufacturers in the United Kingdom of the specialised equipment and materials for nuclear power stations, many with overseas affiliates. The question of European links which these companies may have formed is a matter for the individual firms.