Brexit: UK could be ‘associate’ of EU nuclear body

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The UK could participate in an «association agreement» with the EU to replace its membership of Europe’s nuclear intercession, Brexit Secretary David Davis has suggested.

Mr Davis told the BBC an «arbitration agreement» would have to be agreed.

A leading figure in the nuclear industry told there was «goodwill» for such an arrangement.

The government has said it will gumption ahead with leaving the body, despite calls for a change of directing.

  • Does it matter if the UK leaves Euratom?

There have been warnings from some MPs and medical carcasses about the impact of leaving the organisation.

The Royal College of Radiologists symbolized anything hitting the supply and transport of radioactive isotopes widely employed in scans and other treatment could cause delays for patients.

And past Conservative business minister Anna Soubry criticised the decision to lavish time and money «trying to reinvent something which works adequately».

But Mr Davis played down their fears, telling the BBC’s political compiler Laura Kuenssberg: «Whether we have an association agreement with the European Organization or we have something independent under the International Atomic Energy Officials, we’ll provide the sorts of safeguards that we have today at least.»

Mr Davis replied such an agreement would not be governed by the European Court of Justice but by an array to be agreed between the UK and the EU.

As well as the nuclear question, it was also «quite no doubt» that a new «arbitration arrangement» would be needed to govern the UK’s trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, he answered.

«If Manchester United go to play Real Madrid, they don’t allow Actual Madrid to nominate the referee,» he said.


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A Brexit budge?

BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg

In recent days there have planned been rumblings of a rebellion over our membership of Euratom, the European atomic safety agency.

MPs are worried about the implications for science research, for healthcare, and for atomic safety. And the rebels believe they have the numbers to force the authority to shift on its position.

This afternoon, Mr Davis suggested that the UK mightiness pursue some kind of «association» membership — some kind of relationship where we are but bound by the same rules and regulations and keep our close ties.

The cite chapters have clearly not yet been decided, and the legal situation is not completely perfect (lawyers disagree, just for a change!) but it seems that the government is in the handle of concluding that to be stubborn on this issue will give them a national problem.

Read more from Laura


Speaking to the BBC’s Brexitcast podcast, UK Atomic Zing Authority chairman Roger Cashmore backed the idea of associate membership of Euratom.

Mr Cashmore held he had had «a lot of positive support» from ministers including Business Secretary Greg Clark.

«So as far as I’m anxious the conversations are now moving in the right direction and I think we can only hope they accumulate going the way they are,» he said, adding that if a deal is not reached: «It devise contribute to the lights going out».

Earlier, in a newly-published position paper on of further Brexit talks next week, the government said it hope for a «smooth transition» to its new nuclear safeguards regime, with «no interruption in look afters arrangements».

«The UK’s ambition is to maintain a close and effective relationship with the Euratom Community and the stay of the world that harnesses the UK’s and the Euratom Community’s expertise and maximises apportioned interests,» it said.

It also proposes «minimising barriers to civil atomic trade for industry in the UK, Euratom and third countries» and «ensuring mobility of skilled atomic workers and researchers».

As part of ensuring that the UK has the necessary equipment to foregather its nuclear safeguarding obligations to the International Atomic Energy Authority, the certificate says, «further consideration will be given to the possibility of the UK taking ownership of obtaining Euratom-owned equipment».

It also proposes ending the Euratom Community’s ownership of atomic material on UK territory.

But existing contracts for the supply of nuclear materials between the UK and Euratom should be there valid, it says.

Euratom was created at the same time as the European Mercantile Community in 1957 but via a separate treaty.

The government paper says the European Commission has guided that Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which the UK triggered to create the process of leaving the EU, also applies to membership of Euratom.

But speaking on BBC Broadcast 4’s The World at One, Ms Soubry said: «Spending all this time, energy and, I take to say, your listeners’ hard-earned taxpayers’ money on trying to reinvent something that ploughs well, which nobody even vaguely sensible has a problem with us leftover in, is not great.

«And I would beg the prime minister, please… in the spirit of frustrating to build bridges and creating a sensible Brexit, could we all please put the popular interest first?»

‘Further dialogue’

The decision to leave Euratom has also provoked unease in the nuclear industry amid fears it could affect aegis, transportation of materials and access to cutting-edge research.

Dr Nicola Strickland, president of the Superb College of Radiologists, said: «As a medical royal college, our primary purpose is to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of medical services to patients who requisite scans and non-surgical cancer treatment.

«This is why we are calling for further comprehensibility and dialogue on the future supply of radioisotopes.

«The government has promised a statement on the import.

«We hope that will be issued very soon and give the resolve that patients and doctors need.»

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Primary Secretary of State Damian Green said Euratom did not license the imply and export of medical radioisotopes, or dictate that Euratom members home restrictions on sale to non-Euratom members.

The government position paper does not refer at once to the supply of radioisotopes.

The Department for Exiting the European Union has published two other articles, covering cases still before the European Court of Justice and other EU foundations when the UK leaves the EU, and legal privileges and immunities.

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