Heavy Water Reactors

Oral Answers to Questions — Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what consultations have been held with the Atomic Energy of Canada Co. Ltd., regarding an exchange of technical information on heavy water reactors with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority; and why such an exchange of information has been refused.

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

The hon. Member is misinformed. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has recently made new proposals for the exchange of technical information with the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority on heavy water reactors, and these are under discussion.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

I thank the hon. Member for that reply. Would it be right or wrong to claim that the heavy water reactor being developed in Canada may prove to be superior to the advanced gas-cooled reactor being developed in this country? If so, does he not agree that this could have serious consequences for this country and for the Atomic Energy Authority, having regard to the capital cost involved in the development of the gas-cooled reactor and the subsequent loss of the export market?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

The hon. Member's premise is hypothetical, and his deductions even more so.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

What kind of an answer is that?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

It may be clever, but it is very silly.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

If the hon. Member has no explicit information on this question, will he issue a statement relating to the supplementary question that I have raised?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

The hon. Member asked me whether the Canadian reactor might not prove to be a better or more economic proposition than the advanced gas-cooled reactor. Until both are tested it is possible that one or the other will be the more satisfactory.