Britain’s energy minister has written personally to Minister for Environment Denis Naughten offering “significant assurances” there would be no threat to Ireland from any changes in nuclear safety standards after Brexit. The UK is planning to pull out of Euratom, the body which regulates the nuclear industry across Europe, including the safe transport of radioactive materials across borders, after it leaves the EU next March. Although the watchdog is legally separate from the bloc, membership requires being subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which British prime minister Theresa May’s government is opposed to. Leaked documents last month show Britain is missing deadlines for putting post-Brexit nuclear safeguards in place, including the delivery of an IT system to track nuclear material and the recruitment of qualified inspectors. The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation has identified five “high-level risks” – categorised as “red” on a red, amber, green alert scale – that remain outstanding. Mr Naughten said Greg Clark, Britain’s Minister for Energy and Industry, wrote to him about planned future arrangements on civil nuclear power. “This letter provided significant assurances in relation to nuclear safety standards,” he said in response to a parliamentary question. Timmy Dooley, Fianna Fail’s environment spokesman, said Mr Naughten should not be satisfied with “vague assurances” from London. “I have grave concerns about the capacity of the British administration to maintain standards, absent from a European context.
Irish Times 18th June 2018 read more »