Is Brexit uncertainty leaving the UK's nuclear sector facing meltdown?

Mark Sands
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British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant
The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Brexit uncertainty is leaving the UK’s nuclear industry at risk of meltdown, a committee of MPs has warned today.

A lack of clarity over future ties between the UK and European energy markets could put continued operation of the sector in Britain at risk, they claim.

Among the fears raised are power stations closing, a loss of jobs and investment, and research and development being halted in the UK.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee highlighted in particular the decision to quit nuclear organisation Euratom.

As well as overseeing safety standards, the Euratom treaty enables free movement of nuclear professionals, materials, equipment and associated investment capital.

Committee chair Iain Wright said: “The government has failed to consider the potentially severe ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear industry.

“Ministers must act as urgently as possible. The repercussions of failing to do so are huge. The continued operations of the UK nuclear industry are at risk.”

Read More: The future of Britain's nuclear industry is at risk in Brexit negotiations

Lib Dem former business secretary Vince Cable said: “The report makes clear that leaving will threaten power supplies. It shows the dogma of the Conservative Brexit ultras that they are prepared to risk power supplies, trade and research just for misguided ideological reasons.”

The government has stressed that it will seek “the closest possible nuclear co-operation” with the EU.

Responding to the BEIS committee report, business secretary Greg Clark said: “The future of the nuclear industry in this country can only be protected by a Prime Minister who will actually stand up for Britain and nuclear power in Brexit negotiations.”

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