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Royal Naval College (Irradiation Facilities)

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the extent to which the Royal Naval College at Greenwich irradiation facilities have been used for commercial purposes. [39260]

This is a matter for the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency, under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive of the NRTA to reply to the hon. Member.

Letter from A. D. Ferguson to Mr. Llew Smith, dated 24 October 1995:

The Secretary of State for Defence has asked the Chief Executive of the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency (NRTA) to reply to your Parliamentary Question, about the extent to which the irradiation facilities at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich have been used for commercial purposes. I am replying on behalf of the Chief Executive who is away.
Whilst it is Ministry of Defence policy to make use of any irreducible and temporarily unallocated training capacity wherever it is possible to do so, it is not the case that RNC Greenwich has provided irradiation facilities for commercial purposes. RNC Greenwich is part of the recently created NRTA and the Agency operates in accordance with the MOD policy and HM Treasury guidelines to market spare training capacity at its shore training facilities and thereby generate income.
The Navy's Department of Nuclear Science and Technology (DNST), together with its low power nuclear reactor (known as JASON) are located at RNC Greenwich and are also part of the NRTA. Whilst DNST has a number of irradiation facilities other than JASON (including X-radiation and Gamma radiation facilities), in the context of your Parliamentary Question you will wish to be aware that DNST has provided only two training courses on a commercial basis during the past 12 months. The first being a one day training session for university students where the students observed JASON, but did not use it as an irradiation facility. The second was a three week course on instrument calibration. During this course, one practical session made use of JASON, but, again, not as an irradiation facility.
I hope that you will find the foregoing to be helpful.