300 GeV Nuclear Accelerator

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Tim Fortescue Mr Tim Fortescue , Liverpool, Garston 12:00 am, 5th December 1968

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received requesting the Government to reconsider their policy with regard to the 300 GeV nuclear accelerator planned by C.E.R.N.; and what reply he has sent.

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

Apart from the Parliamentary representations with which the hon. Gentleman is familiar, I have received representations form the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price), the Secretary of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs and a number of individual nuclear physicists. In addition, the Chairman of the C.S.P., while not asking the Government to reconsider their decision, did express his deep regret that the Government had found it necessary to decide against participation. The views expressed and my replies are covered by the discussions on the 300 GeV accelerator in the Consolidated Fund Bill debate on 24th July.—[Vol. 769, c. 808–30.]

Photo of Mr Tim Fortescue Mr Tim Fortescue , Liverpool, Garston

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask whether she has given further consideration to the recommendation of the Nuclear Physics Board, that not only should we participate in this project, but that our participation could be paid for by reducing expenditure on existing obsolescent accelerators.

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

We have given some consideration to the matter. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware the Nuclear Physics Board bases its proposals on the assumption that the site would he in Britain and there are strong indications that the site would not be in this country.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Apart from the justified requirements of particle physics, would it not help us in Bonn to be slightly more flexible?

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

May I make it quite clear that the C.E.R.N. Convention which is being drawn up makes it possible for countries to participate at a later stage if the situation should change. It would therefore be possible for this country still to enter the project.