To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy,Official Report, 18 May, column 455, on the ILL multilateral high flux test reactor in Grenoble (a) what has been the country of origin of the fuel for the reactor for each year since the United Kingdom joined the partnership, (b) what recent problems have arisen with the fuelling of the reactor and with what effects for the research programme and (c) what safeguards arrangements apply to nuclear fuel in the reactor.
The information requested is as follows.
- (a) All fuel material for the high flux beam reactor originates from the United States of America; fabrication of the material into fuel elements has been carried out either in France or in West Germany.
- (b) West German companies have been unable recently to fulfil their contracts to supply finished fuel elements to ILL, and the work has been transferred to alternative contractors in France. This change has not, however, led to loss of research time; the programme for ILL remains as planned.
- (c) The reactor is licensed under stringent French safety regulations, and is inspected regularly.