Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, argues that any gap in the arrangements by which the UK nuclear industry co-operates with the world could cause considerable disruption There’s a common phrase popping up across many articles and interviews about Brexit – ‘cliff edge’. Whether that’s the Institute of Directors, which said the two-year timeframe is unlikely to be enough to sever ties and form new trade deals; or EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, calling for a five-year transition period to ease the uncertainty for businesses, they’ve all had this word in common. The nuclear industry has also talked of an approaching cliff edge, a scenario backed by the both the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. That cliff edge was hidden in the small print of the supporting notes to the EU Withdrawal Bill, as it detailed how the UK will also leave the European Atomic Energy Community – commonly known as Euratom – at the same time as leaving the EU. Readers might say: ‘So what?’ All industries are under pressure.’ But, Euratom is a fairly unique proposition for the government to contend with and the cliff edge in our scenario could bring nuclear trade to a halt.
The Engineer 20th June 2017 read more »