Oral Answers to Questions — Atomic Energy (Industrial Use)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th April 1948.

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Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North 12:00 am, 12th April 1948

asked the Minister of Supply what progress has been made in the endeavours to harness atomic energy for industrial purposes.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The low energy experimental pile, which has been in operation at Harwell since August, 1947, and the larger experimental pile, which will come into operation there this summer, are basic tools for the study of the many problems to be overcome before atomic energy can be harnessed for industrial purposes. The production of fissile material at Sellafield is a further essential preliminary. At the same time work is going ahead on planning alternative designs of experimental piles for power production.

Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North

Does my right hon. Friend still have the same estimate as his right hon. Friend a year ago—that it will be about five years before it is possible to utilise atomic energy for productive purposes?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

The consensus of scientific opinion now puts the date rather further forward and it is considered that it will be at least 10 years, and some hold considerably longer, before atomic energy can be used on any considerable scale for industrial purposes.

Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , Dorset Southern

Would the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of disposing of the rumour which appeared in the Press during the weekend that the ancient and dilapidated village of Imber is to be exposed to the lull force of atomic energy?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

That is rather a different question, but there is no truth in the rumour.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the approximate sums spent on atomic research for industrial and war purposes, respectively?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

That is an entirely different question.