The consensus is clear: there is no upside to a nuclear Brexit. abinet resignations, a government with no majority in the Commons, a make-or break-budget for the chancellor and a fast-approaching Brexit negotiating deadline means it is easy for issues to slip out of the public consciousness. Against this backdrop, Euratom and the UK’s future nuclear safeguarding regime risk being forgotten. As the nuclear safeguards bill – one of the “Brexit bills” announced in the Queen’s speech – makes its way through the parliamentary process, nuclear experts were called to present evidence to MPs. The message from experts is unequivocal – there is no upside to the UK leaving the Euratom treaty. Should the UK fail to have its safeguarding regime in place by March 2019, nuclear trade would halt, as well as cross-nation technology sharing that some of our nuclear power stations rely on to function. Again, this is not an exaggeration of the problem, or political point-scoring. Put simply, if we don’t have our safeguarding regime in place, our nuclear industry will face major, potentially dangerous, disruptions. Despite protests from government ministers, leaving Euratom at the same time as leaving the European Union is not necessary. Euratom is a separate treaty to our EU membership and it is time the government treated it as such, rather than claiming the two are inextricably intertwined.
Guardian 21st Nov 2017 read more »