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Serious concerns about post-Brexit nuclear safeguards raised by EU Committee

18 May 2018

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to the Minister for Business and Industry, Richard Harrington MP, asking for his response to media reports that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is falling behind in its efforts to prepare for Brexit.


Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community) implements a system of safeguards to control the use of nuclear materials. The Government has made arrangements for the UK to leave Euratom at the same time as leaving the EU, because the two share an institutional framework. However, failure to establish its own safeguarding regime before leaving Euratom may mean the UK is unable to import nuclear material, with severe consequences for energy security given that 20% of the UK's electricity comes from nuclear generation.

An ONR risk register, recently leaked to the media, highlighted a number of high-risk areas where preparations for establishing a UK safeguards regime have not progressed adequately. These include development of a new IT system for tracking nuclear material, recruitment and training of inspectors, securing funding, and obtaining access to the necessary equipment.

The Committee has written to BEIS' Minister for Business and Industry to ask for his urgent clarification on the state of play.

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