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Nuclear Industry Association still struggling with inconvenient truth that Brexit is bad for their industry

Industry body welcomes progress on international nuclear agreement as Brexit looms

But the Nuclear Industry Association says there remains a lot to do to secure Britain’s nuclear sector before it leaves Euratom. 

Progress on a voluntary agreement that will continue to allow officials to keep tabs on and inspect UK civil nuclear facilities including Sellafield post-Brexit, has been welcomed by an industry group.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of directors has approved the UK Voluntary Offer Agreement, which if ratified as expected later this summer, will see the UK continue to share information on its civil nuclear facilities and allow inspections by IAEA officials.

The IAEA works to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear energy and has safeguards in place with nuclear weapons states such as the UK. At present the sharing of information and inspections go through the European Commission and its agency Euratom.

The UK is set to leave Euratom in March 2019 at the same time it exits the European Union.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has been pushing the Government to secure agreements with bodies including the IAEA, to ensure current agreements do not break down post-Brexit.

The NIA’s chief executive Tom Greatrex welcomed the IAEA’s approval of a replacement agreement as a “step in the process towards creating a domestic regime to replace current Euratom functions”.

He said: “It is the first in a series of international agreements which need to be negotiated, agreed and ratified with a number of third countries, and the practical arrangements relating to the UK’s safeguarding regime need to be finalised – including recruitment, training, systems and equipment.

“There has been significant progress over the last few months, but there remains a lot left to do.

“Industry continues to work with government to assist in this process, but it remains of critical importance that the government finalise negotiations on a transitional framework for the UK before it leaves the EU and Euratom in March 2019, to minimise the risk of future arrangements not being ready at the time the UK ceases to be part of Euratom.”

Concerns has also been expressed in Cumbria over the UK’s exist from Euratom.

Barrow and Furness MP, John Woodcock has been a long-standing critic of the move, which he says has potential to hurt the industry in the county.

Prime Minister Teresa May said she is keen to retain some links with Euratom post-Brexit.

In a speech last month Mrs May said she would “willingly” make a financial contribution to allow Britain’s to “fully associate” itself with Euratom’s R&D programme and Horizon Europe research and innovation programme – the successor to Horizon 2020.

June 15, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, UK

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