Brexit sparks nuclear fear

The Sellafield nuclear plant in Seascale, Cumbria, near to where a planned �10 billion power plant is to be built at Moorside

The Sellafield nuclear plant in Seascale, Cumbria, near to where a planned �10 billion power plant is to be built at Moorside

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The future of Fylde nuclear jobs, which this week faced a potential blow with the news that financially troubled Toshiba is cooling on a new project in the region, could face a new threat from the UK’s Brexit move.

A new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says the plans to leave the EU, and consequently the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), could threaten plans to build new nuclear reactors such as at Moorside where the fuel would be supplied by the Springfields site at Salwick, and decommissioning activities, as well as jeopardise energy security due to the impact on nuclear fuel supplies.

The Leaving the EU: the Euratom Treaty report calls for Government to urgently develop a transitional framework before leaving the EU and for the need for the UK to create new nuclear cooperation agreements to enable new nuclear trade deals with both EU and non-EU countries.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and lead author of the report, said: “The UK’s departure from Euratom must not be seen as an after-thought to leaving the EU.

“Without suitable transitional arrangements, the UK runs the risk of not being able to access the markets and skills that enable the construction of new nuclear power plants and existing power stations may also potentially be unable to access fuel.

“With the Article 50 process taking just two years, the Government must act quickly to develop agreements to enable international trade, for goods such as nuclear fuels and research.”

See also Jobs fears over Toshiba woe