Brexit derailing nuclear plans

Nuclear Safeguards Bill fails to address threats to jobs and major projects arising from Euratom exit, warns union leader

Political uncertainty and Brexit have placed “major projects as risk” a nuclear industry report has warned.

Published, by the union Prospect, which represents engineers and scientists working in the nuclear industry alongside other sectors, the report urges ministers to provide a “clear commitment” to completing the nuclear UKs new build programme, which it warns is at risk of being derailed as a result of delays and uncertainty

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Britain is a world leader in nuclear engineering, research and decommissioning, yet we risk losing out as uncertainty and Brexit hit the industry.

“We need clear leadership from government to get British nuclear back on track, helping to deliver new nuclear power generation, supporting innovation and creating more high-skilled jobs”.

The report also calls for a commitment from the government not to terminate Britain’s Euratom membership until an appropriate alternative nuclear safeguarding framework is in place.

It says ministers should, in consultation with key industry stakeholders, “proceed quickly” with drawing up plans for a comprehensive framework to replace Euratom membership.

Clancy added: “The Nuclear Safeguards Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech fails to address the risk to jobs from leaving Euratom or concerns about new power stations at Hinkley Point C or Moorside in Cumbria.”

He explained that this is the reason Prospects report calls for “a new independent nuclear champion to advocate for the industry at home and abroad.

“In these uncertain times, a properly resourced champion could put paid to uncertainty over nuclear, instead transforming the industry into an engine for jobs, growth and economic success,” he said.