asked the Secretary of State for Energy what part the Government have played in the negotiations by the National Nuclear Corporation Limited for acquisition of the two existing nuclear design and construction consortia, British Nuclear Design & Construction Limited and the Nuclear Power Group Limited.
The shareholders of the two existing consortia prior to acquisition by the National Nuclear Corporation Ltd. have borne unrecovered expenditure. The Government have agreed to make an ex gratia contribution towards this expenditure up to a maximum of £1·416 million subject to confirmation of the accounts. Pending the presentation of a Supplementary Estimate it will be necessary to have recourse to the Contingencies Fund. This has enabled the National Nuclear Corporation Ltd. to complete the acquisition of the two consortia, together with their staffs. This is an important step forward. The acquisition includes the Government's 26 per cent. shareholding in British Nuclear Design and Construction Ltd. which the Secretary of State for Industry took over from the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation on its dissolution in April 1971. The National Nuclear Corporation Ltd. has also agreed terms with the electricity boards for the completion of the consortia's power station contracts in progress.