Nuclear Propulsion (Safety)

Oral Answers to Questions — Shipping – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd April 1958.

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Photo of Mr Stanley Awbery Mr Stanley Awbery , Bristol Central 12:00 am, 2nd April 1958

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what consideration has been given to the risks that may be involved to the crews of ships that will use nuclear power for propulsion; and, in view of the fact that such vessels will shortly be placed in commission, if he will take steps to have this matter placed upon the agenda of the appropriate committee of the International Labour Organisation, or referred to the chief maritime nations for consideration.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I have recently invited all the interests in this country to be represented on a committee which will advise me on all the safety problems arising from nuclear propulsion at sea and in port. Her Majesty's Government have also proposed to the contracting Governments of the Inter- national Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea that a conference should be held in 1960 at which this might be considered.

Photo of Mr Stanley Awbery Mr Stanley Awbery , Bristol Central

But I understand that some of these ships will be in operation next year. In view of the developments that may take place, will the Minister make sure that the health and conditions of the seamen and the effects of nuclear power upon them are discussed before these ships are put into commission?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not catch the first part of my Answer, which was that, as far as this country is concerned, the Committee will sit almost at once and will make recommendations.

Photo of Mr Stanley Awbery Mr Stanley Awbery , Bristol Central

Will the Minister press on with this business?