HC Deb 27 July 1982 vol 28 cc438-9W
Mr. Cook

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether discussions are still proceeding on the proposal for supply of plutonium for use in the United States fast breeder programme; and what stage has been reached in negotiations.

Mr. John Moore

There have been no further developments since my statement in the debate initiated by the hon. Member on 21 December 1981. There have been no negotiations.

Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a further statement about the uses to which the United States of America put the plutonium exported to it in the period up to 1971.

Mr. John Moore

As explained in my answer to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook) on 1 April, the United Kingdom Government was informed by the United States Government in 1964 that plutonium produced in the generating boards' Magnox reactors and consigned to the United States before 1971 under the United Kingdom/United States defence agreement would be for civil purposes. The United States authorities have recently confirmed to us that the bulk of the material in question is in the form of "coupons" for the zero energy fast reactor critical assembly and in the core of fast flux test facility. Both of these are part of the United States fast reactor programme. A sizeable quantity was used to make Californium for medical purposes. The remaining small quantity is in use for experimental purposes elsewhere in the civil programme, for example at Argonne and Battelle. it is therefore clear that the assurance given to the United Kingdom Government in 1964 has been fulfilled.