§ 1. Mr. Whitaker
asked the Minister of Technology how much Great Britain is at present contributing to desalination research; what progress has been made; and when he expects commercially cheap pure water from this source.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Mr. Peter Shore)
The three year programme whichs 3 the A.E.A. is carrying out in association with industry is based on a planned expenditure of £1.5 million. Useful progress is being made. The economics of desalted water varies from place to place according to local circumstances. Desalted water is already available on a commercial scale from many plants built overseas by British industry.
§ Mr. Whitaker
Apart from the very considerable export potential, does not the increasing shortage of water in Britain make further research urgently necessary?
§ Mr. Shore
As my hon. Friend says, there is certainly very considerable export potential for this desalination plant, particularly in the arid lands of the Middle East and, to some extent, Latin America. For some years to come in Britain, although research is going on and will continue, we must look to ordinary conventional supplies because they are so much cheaper.
§ Sir D. Renton
As nearly all nuclear power stations are situated near the coast, would it not be possible for a pilot desalination scheme to be erected in conjunction with a nuclear power station?
§ Mr. David Price
Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that British firms are already major exporters to the world market of this type of plant?