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Ireland’s concerns on nuclear safety after Brexit and UK’s withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty

 Irish Times 25th June 2018 , Cllr Mark Dearey, Cllr John Trainor, Co-Chairmen, Nuclear-Free Local
Authorities All-Ireland Forum: … on nuclear safety after
the UK leaves the Euratom arrangements, it is clear that Minister for the
Environment Denis Naughten must do more than simply accept cosy platitudes
from his UK counterpart. While the Border issue is a pivotal part of the
negotiations of Brexit, the parallel decision to leave the Euratom Treaty
arrangements is still of real importance.

The treaty oversees all external safety and security checks at UK nuclear sites, particularly Sellafield, as
well as monitoring the UK’s duties in not proliferating nuclear materials
that could be converted into a nuclear weapons programme.

In our view, the UK government needs to grow up on the issue of the jurisdiction of the
European Court of Justice on matters of nuclear safety. The UK government
has compromised all over the place on Brexit, and by refusing to do so on
this subject, it is putting all of our safety at risk on a point of
political expediency.

As The Irish Times has correctly noted, the transfer
of these duties to the domestic nuclear regulator is not without risk, and
there is real concern that there may not be enough inspectors recruited in
sufficient time and that key and complicated IT systems to verify such work
are put in place by March 2019.

Last month the Oireachtas Joint Planning
Committee heard of detailed concerns over the UK’s approach to assessing
the transboundary impacts of plans to develop new nuclear plants like
Hinkley Point and Wylfa.

Any accident from an existing or new nuclear plant
could have devastating health, economic and social impacts on Ireland, so
it is important not just to receive assurances, but to properly audit them
and to be satisfied that a new nuclear safety regime remains fit for

Ireland is extensively doing that with other impacts of Brexit on
the country, and in our view, this should be a core part of that detailed
discussion. We also want to know how both governments will prioritise
nuclear safety and energy policy in a post-Brexit world, where we see a
real lack of forward thinking in addressing the energy needs of both the UK
and Ireland.


June 27, 2018 - Posted by | safety, UK

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