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    UK Nuclear Power Under Threat, Brexit May Have Devastating Effect - IME Report

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    The future of Britain's nuclear power has hit the headlines once again, as it faces fresh challenges, and experts question what it will look like after Brexit.

    Plans for a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria, UK — which would bring thousands of new jobs — were in limbo after reports emerged that Toshiba was thinking of pulling the plug on the deal. 

    Now a report, Leaving the EU: The Euratom Treaty, by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), a company that aims to improve the world through engineering, confirmed in January that the UK would sever ties with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) once it left the European Union, raising concerns over Britain's plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. 

    The 1957 ​Euratom Treaty enables a single market of goods and services for nuclear projects, as well as the creation of trade deals.

    In their report, IME argue that the UK government must act fast to develop a suitable transitional framework to replace Euratom.

    IME also claim that without any transitional arrangements, the UK is at risk of losing access to the markets and skills that are necessary to building and constructing new power plants. In addition to this, some experts allege that existing stations may be unable to access fuel.

    Jennifer Baxter, IME Head of Energy and Environment and lead author of the report, said that if a replacement for Euratom is found, negotiations could propel Britain to a global nuclear power leader status.

    ​"Making these transitional arrangements will be difficult, particularly given the short time-scale, but if done correctly could present the UK with opportunities to speed up the process of developing new nuclear power plants and reprocessing facilities, boost UK nuclear skills as well as open up the UK to more international trade deals," Baxter said in a recent interview.

    The report recommends that a framework is developed to help provide the UK nuclear industry with the same guidelines as Euratom. This will mean creating Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with non-EU trading countries.

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    Tags:
    single market access, power stations, nuclear power plants, Brexit, engineering, nuclear power, research, Euratom, Europe, Britain, United Kingdom
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