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Georgina Wright @GeorginaEWright
, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
#Brexatom debate is resurfacing. To be clear, concerns aren’t new but worth clarifying what’s at stake (thread):
1. First, should we worry? Brexatom will change nuclear safeguarding, supply & funding. But UK government aware of this and exploring what regulatory changes, additional staff and funding are needed.
2. But there are risks. Main priority is to introduce a new safeguarding regime and ensure that all safeguarding activities can be carried out on day 1 (after Brexatom).
3. So it’s not really about standards (which are likely to remain the same), but about compensating for the loss of Euratom oversight. This is important because UK may need to prove to third countries that it has a robust safeguarding regime in place to trade nuclear materials.
4. In other words, ther are two challenges to nuclear safeguarding: who will ensure that standards are enforced & who is going to carry out inspections of civil nuclear facilities?
5. On safeguarding regime: UK gov could introduce new domestic legislation & powers to compensate for loss of Euratom oversight.
6. On safeguarding activities: currently, Euratom experts carry out inspections. Presumably, the Office for Nuclear Responsibility (ONR) will be responsible for inspections post-Brexatom (in line with requirements set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency).
7. [Important to clarify that as a nuclear weapons state, UK is not required to conduct inspections of its military nuclear facilities. It does for its civil nuclear facilities].
8. Staff & training: fear that there aren’t enough experts in UK to carry out full inspections – or that they won’t be trained in time. Tick tock.
9. Funding concerns: obviously to ONR for inspections, but also for R&D especially if the UK is to remain a global centre for fusion research. Lots of funding comes from Euratom and EU budget streams.
10. Trade of nuclear goods with EU27: would require either (i) explicit authorisation from member states or (ii) EU authorisation (called 'EU General Export Authorisation', which the EU has granted to Canada and the US for e.g.).
11. Trade of nuclear goods outside EU27: UK would need to strike new agreements – but as stated above, some gov may require proof that the UK safeguarding regime is indeed robust (standards and oversight).
12. In conclusion: timing is an issue, but UK government working on this and not impossible to address gaps.
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