§ Mr. Mason
asked the Minister of Education, as representing the Minister for Science, what has been the cost to date of experiments conducted to develop thermonuclear power in Zeta I and Zeta II, respectively; what progress is being made; and what are the prospects of thermonuclear power being successfully developed for peaceful purposes.
§ Sir D. Eccles
Capital and operating expenditure on Zeta I and its modifications up to June, 1960, have totalled about£2,600,000 including£460,000 for design studies and development work for 103W Zeta II and other future systems. No capital expenditure has been incurred on Zeta 11 because the design studies and development work, together with experience on Zeta I, have shown the necessity for an Intermediate Current Stability Experiment (I.C.S.E.) for plasma stability studies. This is now in active preparation.
Thermonuclear research work is reviewed in the Authority's Sixth Annual Report.
Although it is uncertain at this stage whether thermonuclear research will lead to economical power production, the rewards of success would be so great that the Government consider that the present programme is fully justified.