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UK nuclear lobby uses the good old “medical” pretense in its zeal for government subsidies

Dr David Lowry, 15 January 2018

Nuclear red herring thrown into Euratom Exit debate by desperate nuclear sector seeing significant subsidies disappearing

The nuclear industry lobby is desperate for the UK to remain in Euratom, as it would mean the massive subsidies they receive  for research and development via Euratom would be lost. But they don’t believe  such concerns would really bother  most  politicians, but claiming  Brexatom would result in loss of radioactive isotope supplies for medical diagnoses, which does concern the public and politicians. So they have made a huge song and dance – successfully- over this red herring claim, to keep the UK in Euratom. Below is the latest in this ongoing saga.

Nuclear research and medical isotopes,  European Scrutiny Committee, 15 January 2018

Committee’s assessment
Politically important

…….Summary and Committee’s conclusions……..While the substance of the proposal was not controversial, its political context is—of course—Brexit. The Prime Minister’s formal notification of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) also included Euratom.17 Nuclear industry stakeholders have expressed concerns that the two-year negotiating period under Article 50 is insufficient for the UK to replicate Euratom’s existing regulatory safeguards regime for nuclear facilities domestically and agree new cooperation agreements with the EU, the IAEA and third countries. In addition, the medical establishment has warned that withdrawal from Euratom could impact on the availability and cost of medical isotopes in the UK post-Brexit……

On 28 July, the new Minister for Energy (Richard Harrington) replied to our predecessors’ letter of 25 April. He noted that the Government had not conducted a formal impact assessment on leaving Euratom, but emphatically confirmed that the UK’s ability to import medical isotopes from the EU or the rest of the world “will not be affected by withdrawal from Euratom”.
He also acknowledged the nuclear industry’s broader concerns about the UK’s exit from Euratom, noting that an “unsatisfactory withdrawal risks significant impacts for the nuclear sector”.

…….With respect to the supply of medical isotopes post-Brexit, we have taken note of the Minister’s assurance that the UK’s ability to import medical isotopes from the EU or the rest of the world will not be affected by withdrawal from Euratom.
……the UK currently does not produce any molybdenum-99 (99Mo), the decay product of which (technetium-99m or Tc-99m) is ultimately used for 90% of medical interventions involving radio isotopes.29 The UK is entirely reliant on import from other countries. The material cannot be stockpiled as it has a half-life of only 66 hours……..

January 17, 2018 - Posted by | spinbuster, UK

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