Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cost of Atomic Reactor.

1.

asked the Taoiseach if he will state the current cost of an atomic reactor suitable for this country.

The only information available to me regarding the cost of an atomic reactor suitable for this country is that contained in the Report of the Atomic Energy Committee, copies of which are available in the Library. It will be seen from paragraphs 116 to 121 and Appendix H of that report that the committee estimate the capital cost of the atomic research reactor most suitable for this country, and purchased in the United States of America, to be £330,000 after deducting the grant payable by the Government of the United States of America. The annual operating costs of such a reactor, including provision to cover a programme of research at the reactor, would amount to £33,000, exclusive of any provision for depreciation and for insurance against a reactor accident.

Having regard to the modest cost of this reactor, would the Government not be prepared to reconsider their decision?

The matter has been very carefully considered by the Government. I have given, in general, the reasons why it is inopportune to purchase a reactor at the moment. It has been very carefully considered.

When the Taoiseach speaks of suitability in relation to a reactor, could he conveniently say under what headings "suitability" has been considered in the matter?

A committee was set up to consider that whole matter. I did not decide the matter myself, nor am I a competent person to indicate all the headings. They are to be found in the report.