Tag Archives: euratom

LibLink: Layla Moran: There are no winners from Brexit’s nuclear option

Layla Moran has been writing for the New European on the problems that exiting Euratom, the organisation founded in 1957 to create a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe.

She said:

The government has said it wants a “close association” with the Euratom Research and Training Programme and will seek open trade arrangements for nuclear goods. Both laudable ambitions – but this could all be best resolved by remaining in Euratom instead of creating uncertainty and seeking to negotiate what will certainly be a second rate option. In the meantime, the brilliant nuclear scientists from the EU, working together with their UK colleagues at places like Culham in Oxfordshire, on vital nuclear fusion research, are left in limbo. Some of these people, taking their precious skills with them, have already begun to drift away from the UK.

Then there is the issue of medical radioisotopes. As Mike Galsworthy explained in theNew European last week, these nuclear materials are used in cancer treatments and have very short half-lives, so any delays at borders would diminish the number of doses available. Those in the medical industry are deeply concerned.

What could be more pressing than making sure cancer patients still get treated? Well, it seems that, once again, keeping the fractious Tory party together through insistence on delivering a hard Brexit trumps the national interest.

The Government is keen to play this down, and accuses those who raise it as scaremongers, but the industry needs more than just assurances from the Government that a ‘close relationship’ will be achievable. Industry experts suggest it could take up to seven years to negotiate a treaty as wide-ranging as Euratom so I fail to see how we are going to get this finished in time.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…EURATOM: The wedge dividing the Tories’ ideological Brexit

The Tories’ division on Europe is widening. Nothing demonstrates this more than on one simple issue: EURATOM.

In Theresa May’s letter invoking Article 50 she confirmed that Brexit would mean more than Brexit as the UK would also withdraw from the European Atomic Community, a separate legal entity from the EU.

The UK, a country dependant on nuclear energy, relies heavily on EURATOM; our electricity generation, healthcare provision, scientific development, and nuclear safety are all closely intertwined with EURATOM’s regulatory regime.

Withdrawal could restrict the movement of nuclear materials, damaging scientific research and innovation (particularly in the development of future fusion power plants), and threatening the UK’s nuclear power supply.

What many won’t realise is that this could also restrict supply of key materials for radioactive cancer treatment. Dr Nicola Strickland, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, has already warned of the damage this could do to over 10,000 cancer patients being directly treated by imported radioactive isotopes and the increased cost burden this would place on an NHS already stretched for resources.

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Science at risk – BREXIT and the dangers to Britain’s nuclear industry

One of the biggest fallouts from Brexit is the future of EURATOM, the European Atomic Energy Community, which manages the procurement and movement of all nuclear materials and waste across the EU, and JET (Joint European Torus), which is a nuclear fusion facility based in Culham, Oxfordshire.

EURATOM predates the formation of the EU but they are now legally entangled. The main sticking point for the Tories is their insistence on leaving the European Court of Justice which oversees the agreement. The hard Brexiteers’ obsession with the ECJ meant that while exiting the EU did not have to include leaving EURATOM, the Brexit White Paper made it clear that this is definitely going to happen if the Tories are in power.

This an important issue in Oxford west and Abingdon locally as the prospect of closing the £60m a year JET facility would lead to a direct loss of 1000 jobs in the area. But it goes well beyond that. JET itself it vitally important the UK as a whole. It is not only the centre for research into fusion technology which one day may be a massive contributor to the fight against climate change, but also includes cutting edge research that has led to breakthroughs in engineering and material science. Estimates suggest we make three times the UK’s investment back on the project thanks to spin offs and locally grown expertise.

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