United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1989.

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Photo of Mr Christopher Butler Mr Christopher Butler , Warrington South 12:00 am, 24th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what scope he envisages for the diversification of the business of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

The Atomic Energy Authority has decided to restructure its activities into a series of distinct businesses under the new corporate identity of AEA Technology. The businesses will be focused on the areas of work with the best commercial prospects. I welcome these developments.

Photo of Mr Christopher Butler Mr Christopher Butler , Warrington South

Will my hon. Friend confirm that with the downgrading of the fast breeder reactor programme all is not doom and gloom with the AEA, and that its prospects could be extremely positive in the near future?

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

I can confirm, as I said in my main answr, that there are prospects that the AEA is exploring assiduously which would restructure its business to make it extremely commercial.

Mr. Allan W. Williams:

We know how desperate the AEA is to try to diversify its business and to try to improve its public image, but will the Minister dissuade it from entering the business of food irradiation? I understand that the Government are thinking of lifting the ban on food irradiation although there is serious public concern about the safety of irradiated food products. The British Medical Association opposes the irradiation of food.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

I cannot at this moment give any commitments to that effect to the hon. Gentleman, but I have listened to what he has said.