Brexit could threaten new nuclear reactor build in the UK, says report
16 Feb 2017
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) could threaten nuclear fuel supplies and new nuclear reactor builds in Britain, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The report - Leaving the EU: the Euratom Treaty - calls for the government to develop a transitional framework before leaving the EU, and for the need for the UK to create new Nuclear Cooperation Agreements to enable new nuclear trade deals with both EU and non-EU countries, IMechE said.
Euratom – the treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community – was signed in Brussels in 1957 and was designed to create a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe.
Jenifer Baxter, IMechE head of energy and environment, said: “With the Article 50 process taking just two years, the UK government must act quickly to start the process to develop Nuclear Cooperation Agreements to enable international trade, for goods such as nuclear fuels and research.”
She added that government must also make sure the UK will be able to access sector specific skills not currently available in the UK, such as centrifuge technology expertise.
“There needs to be a thorough framework in place to provide assurances on nuclear safety, nuclear proliferation and environmental issues,” Baxter said.
The report comes at a time when there are serious question marks over the UK’s nuclear sector, particularly concerning fears regarding Toshiba's alleged withdrawal from the Moorside nuclear reactor build.
Despite this, NuGen, which is developing the site, said Toshiba remained committed to Moorside.
Toshiba has been a major shareholder in the project since 2014.
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