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Nuclear industry very worried about Brexit

Nuclear industry warns UK must avoid ‘cliff edge’ over Brexit, Leaving Euratom treaty without new deals would have dramatic impact on Hinkley Point C and other stations, says NIA, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 3 May 17, The UK nuclear industry has issued its strongest warning yet to ministers on the problems it faces if the government is unable to strike new international atomic power deals during Brexit talks.

Failure to put in place alternative arrangements to replace the existing European nuclear treaty, Euratom, which the UK is quitting as part of the article 50 process, would have a “dramatic impact” on Hinkley Point C and other new power stations around the country, the industry said.

Ministers must avoid a “cliff edge” when the UK exits Euratom or face “major disruption to business across the whole nuclear fuel cycle”, the Nuclear Industry Association will warn the government on Wednesday.

The stark briefing to officials, seen by the Guardian, comes just a day after MPs said the continued operations of the UK nuclear industry were at risk from exiting the Euratom treaty. A Lords committee on Tuesday also said the UK risked losing access to markets and skills when leaving Euratom.

Tom Greatrex, the chief executive of the NIA, said: “We’ve had today two select committee reports that have both touched on this. The industry has been and is clear to government we are ready to do what we can – but it needs the government to get on with this and engage now, regardless of all the other issues they have to deal with.”

Theresa May’s decision to call a general election had made matters worse, he added, because it had squeezed the time available to establish alternatives to the treaty.

 Euratom was first signed in 1957 by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and covers nuclear power station inspections, trade of materials and research.

The UK’s departure will mean the government needs to agree a new inspections regime with the International Atomic Energy Agency to replace Euratom inspectors.

“If the UK has not replaced the Euratom safeguards regime with its own system by the time it left Euratom, normal business could be disrupted right across the nuclear industry,” the NIA paper said. Falling back on World Trade Organisation standards would risk putting the UK in breach of its obligations in international nuclear law, the organisation added.

Nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs) would also need to be put in place with key nuclear countries outside the EU, including the US, Japan and Australia, because the UK’s agreements with those governments are currently based on its membership of Euratom……https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/02/nuclear-industry-uk-brexit-euratom-hinkley-point-c-nia

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May 3, 2017 - Posted by | politics, politics international, UK

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