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Tuesday, 9 September 1958
Page: 1019

Mr Swartz z asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

What stage has been reached in the development of nuclear energy propulsion for passenger and cargo vessels?

Mr Townley - The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following reply: -

Investigations into the possibility of developing nuclear power for use in merchant vessels are being made in a number of overseas countries. Advice has been received that the United States has let a contract for construction of the nuclear powered passenger/cargo vessel " Savannah " which was expected to be completed in 1960 at a cost of 21,000,000 dollars.

A Japanese company has also announced plans for an atomic powered merchant ship to cost 3,000,000,000 yen and several groups in the United Kingdom have been formed to collaborate on the design and construction of nuclear powered ships. Similar investigations are being made in Norway. France and West Germany.

My department and the Australian Shipbuilding Board receive regular reports of developments in this field overseas and are watching the position closely, but the high cost of construction of these ships makes it unlikely that any developmental work will be carried out in this country for some time.

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