asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the proposed closure of the experimental fast breeder nuclear reactor at Dounreay; what is the future programme for this reactor; and what will be the next stage, the cost, and the time-scale of research and development on fast breeder technology.
I understand that the last operating period of the Dounreay fast reactor, required to complete its planned experimental programme, is now due to end on 23rd March. Lord Hinton will perform a closing ceremony on that day. The reactor wil be decommissioned and experimental work will be continued in the much larger prototype fast reactor (PFR) at Dounreay which has now operated at its full thermal power. I am at present considering our approach to the next stage of development of the fast reactor system.