Commenting on the announcement of a Bill on nuclear safeguards in the Queen’s Speech, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Tom Greatrex, said:
“Laying a Nuclear Safeguards Bill before Parliament may be a necessary legislative step to enabling the Office for Nuclear Regulation to take on safeguarding inspection responsibilities if the UK ceases to be part of Euratom. However, Government should not be so complacent to assume this alone gets close to resolving the issues they have created.
“The process of replicating safeguarding inspections, agreeing a series of nuclear co-operation agreements with other countries (including EU states), and guaranteeing world-leading international research into fusion at Culham in Oxfordshire, is complex and likely to be subject to intensive negotiation.
“In a week when the Chancellor has said leaving the EU should be done in a way that minimises the impact on jobs, growth and economic activity, the UK Government must ensure this is the case. If they are absolutely wedded to leaving Euratom, there must be transitional arrangements in place to prevent a damaging cliff-edge in 21 months’ time.
“Even at this late stage, seeking to negotiate a way to retain membership of Euratom is an infinitely preferable outcome. For a minority Government to announce a Bill, with no prior consultation, is largely symbolic and leaves much work to do.”