Six months out from Brexit, how are those involved with the UK’s nuclear sector viewing the prospect? The area around the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is the heartland of the UK’s nuclear industry. Euratom oversees nuclear research, sets the rules on where nuclear material is and how it is moved around. It knows, for instance, exactly how much spent uranium is in a storage pond at Sellafield. But the government has decided leaving the European Union means leaving Euratom, and that is likely to mean potentially huge changes to the way nuclear businesses operate. Mr Coughlan fears losing out on nuclear decommissioning orders from elsewhere in Europe, especially from Germany and Sweden. “Once we are out, and no longer part of Euratom, it means we will not be able to participate in those markets,” he says. “The negotiations have been pretty disastrous for the UK,” says Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary of the Prospect trade union, who adds that current “uncertainty” over Brexit negotiations is damaging. Dame Sue Ion, who chairs Euratom’s Science and Technology Committee, says the UK has a lot of world-class expertise and creating new post-Brexit arrangements has meant a huge extra burden of unnecessary work. She feels that ministers must “keep their foot on the gas pedal” to ensure international nuclear co-operation agreements after Brexit are as broad-based as possible.
BBC 5th Oct 2018 read more »