Two UK parliamentary committees have published separate reports – one related to research and development, the other concerning Brexit – that both call on the government to take action to ensure the future competitiveness of the country’s nuclear industry.
Opinion is divided as to whether Brexit should also mean the loss of European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) membership. As the government’s rhetoric edges towards harder and harder Brexit, EURATOM membership looks increasingly under threat. Worryingly, the government is not currently making moves to damage-control the inevitable damage done by an exit from EURATOM.The well-trod arguments on the potentially dangerous loss of markets and skilled workers have never been far away from the ongoing Brexit debate. The loss of EURATOM membership would be another concerning blow to the civil nuclear industry – one which threatens to put both new and existing projects in jeopardy. The Nuclear Industry Association has just issued six key steps they want the government to take to avoid “serious disruption” to normal civil nuclear business. In short, these steps centre on securing sufficient nuclear co-operation agreements with major nuclear markets and (including EURATOM).The government certainly has its work cut out to secure the future international dealings of the civil nuclear industry which will no doubt be hampered by the government’s concentration on issues that are more keenly eyed by the general electorate and a general election just around the corner.