Posted on: 18/07/2017
Brexit Secretary David Davis has maintained the UK will set up its own nuclear regulator despite significant pressure to remain a member of the European civil nuclear regulator, Euratom.
Euratom regulates the nuclear industry across Europe, disposing of waste, carrying out nuclear research and development, safeguarding the transport of nuclear materials, and the mobility of workers and trade in the nuclear sector.
But a policy paper published by the Government last week stressed that when Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to trigger Brexit process, the intention to leave the nuclear regulator was also stated.
“This reflects the fact that the Treaties of the EU and Euratom are uniquely legally joined,” the paper said.
But in a BBC interview, Davis also raised the possibility that the UK could maintain an association agreement with Euratom following Brexit.
“Whether we have an association agreement with the EU or we have something independent under the International Atomic Energy Authority, we’ll provide the sorts of safeguards that we have today at least.”
Warnings over threat to civil nuclear industry
In May, two parliamentary reports warned that the UK’s nuclear industry is under threat from Brexit.
Any delay between the UK leaving the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and placing alternative arrangements into action would inhibit research and development (R&D) and threaten power supplies, according to the House of Commons’ Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee.
Meanwhile, the House of Lords’ Science & Technology Committee said the civil nuclear industry had been “blighted by the indecision of successive governments” and had now “reached a critical moment”, echoing the warning over leaving Euratom and also highlighting a lack of cash for R&D compared with rival nations such as France and the United States.