HC Deb 28 June 1983 vol 44 cc45-6W
Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has set objectives for the United Kingdom atomic energy authority.

Mr. Peter Walker

Further to the answer given by my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) on 18 March 1983—[Vol. 39, c. 296–7] —I have set objectives for the chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Sir Peter Hirsch, in the following termsIn view of the importance of the Authority's work to the civil nuclear programme and the large sums of public money spent by the Authority, I have set out in this letter the objectives which the Government wishes you to pursue as Chairman of the UKAEA. The Authority's principal objective is to carry out research and development on the application of nuclear energy for civil purposes in the UK; the Authority will also undertake other functions agreed with the Government consistent with the Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954 and other relevant legislation. You should put forward proposals, for my consideration, in the Authority's annual medium-term Plans, for carrying out the main programmes, including specific objectives and tasks, resources required, timescales and priorities. The annual Plans should also provide a review of the Authority's performance in the recent past and suggest the lines of its corporate development in the period ahead. One important feature of these Plans will be a revised Fast Reactor Development Programme, following my statement in the House on 29 November 1982. An additional task of the Authority, that I would wish you to encourage, based on the expertise it has gained, is to carry out both nuclear and non-nuclear R&D at customers' expense and at a profit to the Authority. This work should be carried out in accordance with the terms discussed between the Authority and the Department. You should ensure that the Authority has arrangements to achieve high standards of safety at all times. The Government wishes you to ensure that the Authority attaches great importance to control of costs, increasing efficiency and the economical use of manpower in the Authority. For example I expect the Authority to report to me on its programme of action in response to the report prepared by Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company, and subject to my comments, to implement that programme. It should be your objective to seek, in a manner consistent with the other objectives set out in this letter, the maximum contribution to the cost of the Authority's nuclear R&D programme from the Generating Boards, BNFL, NNC and others. The Authority will continue to ensure that the cash limited sums and other conditions imposed by Parliamentary votes are not exceeded. You should, on behalf of the Authority, continue to provide advice and information to the Secretary of State on matters connected with nuclear energy in the UK and abroad, on the Authority's work, and on any other areas within the Authority's area of expertise. You should ensure that the Authority maintains close contacts with bodies and firms having responsibilities concerned with nuclear energy, both at home and overseas. You should continue to take all reasonable steps to foster the exploitation by UK industry of technology developed by the Authority. In determining how the Authority's programme is to be pursued, you should seek to use private sector resources where this is the most efficient and economical course.

Back to