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Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Reactors (Fuel Supplies)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th April 1957.

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Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield 12:00 am, 16th April 1957

asked the Prime Minister what precise arrangements have been made to assure to prospective purchasers of British-made nuclear reactors an adequate supply of nuclear fuels, including enriched fuels.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is prepared to supply natural uranium fuel elements for reactors made in the United Kingdom. The graphite-moderated gas-cooled type of reactor, as at present designed, does not require enriched fuel. The availability of enriched uranium is limited by the capacity of the Authority's diffusion plant at Capenhurst and by the other calls upon it, but a part of the total output has been set aside to provide fuel for reactors sold abroad of a type requiring enriched fuel.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

The latter part of the information is welcome, but is the Prime Minister aware that other countries, such as Japan, are very interested in reactors using partially enriched fuel and that unless they can get assured supplies from this country they will buy them from the United States? Can the Prime Minister say whether the arrangements for British export production are such as to be able to satisfy all possible demands?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

No, Sir, as I said in the reply, the availability of enriched uranium is limited by the capacity of the diffusion plant at Capenhurst and by the other calls made upon it. I went on to say that part of the total output is set aside to provide fuel for any type of reactor which might be sold abroad and which required this type of fuel.