The pro nuclear organisations are panicking and showing symptoms of Brexitphobia (such as whining) as the UK prepares to withdraw from Euratom Treaty and are pulling out all the stops to reverse the situation. In the article below from the Weinberg Next Nuclear Foundation they even claim that leaving Euratom is not necessary even if the UK commits to Brexit. Research foundations and even anti nuclear assessments are included in their press release below.
The question is why is the UK are leaving the treaty? One reason could be that according to the new EU radiation protection legislation just being enacted by the German Government which rolls all the present legislation into one law and next year it will include making parts of the Euratom treaty Legal and binding.
A second point to note is that a new “Medical Physics Expert” (MPE) position has been accepted and that this will be an expert who will have cross boundary recognition which means that a German, Italian etc Expert checking out the UK`s compliance with the provisions of all new EU nuclear regulations (and Vise Versa).
Thirdly by withdrawing from Euratom and the EU, there is another treaty that the UK is being recently queried about called ESPOO (The cross border contamination treaty). The UK is being asked to explain itself by Norway and some other countries in relation to the nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield and the UK`s new nuclear builds. [ I will leave copy and pastes to the links to the ESPOO treaty regulation and MPE issues under the Weinberg panicking article].
Given all the above it would seem that the UK has some secrets to hide and pulling out of these treaties would be to its advantage (The ESPOO treaty 1991 states that non EU state members need not fulfill the requirements).
When we consider the moves by UK experts to minimise the threat of radiation allowing 100 mSv/y instead of the normal 1 mSv/y because of the risk of legal actions against UK nuclear contaminated sites and interests in Japan (after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011) etc, we should consider this to be a defensive move against litigation, such as the British Nuclear Test Veterans legal challenges where foreign experts were dismissed out of hand by the UK supreme court (The report was released a week before Christmas day) and the same battle is being fought over the increased Thyroid cancer cases in Japan (That the UK experts are supporting the “no damage due to radiation” defense).
It is interesting that the UK will risk research funding for the new reactor in Oxford etc to save itself (and the Japanese government) against the possibility of massive compensation damages. The UK is presently using its expert Geraldine Thomas to reduce the thyroid cancer checks in Fukushima prefecture and stopping the expansion of these tests to surrounding prefectures just when an increase is likely to be found and Japanese experts are rallying against this move by the Japanese and UK government experts. Another one of tne of the defenses for their position is the Radiophobia argument that has been debunked by many independent radation experts in articles and papers (reference WHOi the Independent World health Organisation for instance).
Lastly, the European commission is challenging tender procedures for renewables and gas energy sources and Euratoms right to overide this aspect of EU regulation (reference search terms on Euratom Belarus Hungary commission in the http://www.euractiv.com website for updated information). And of course the EURATOM considerations on health effects is being challenged because of new scientific evidence that has come to light (re-justification of Euratom link below).
Arclight2011 aka Shaun McGee
January 27th, 2017
It has been confirmed that the UK intends to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as part of the Brexit process. Following their loss in the Supreme Court last week, the government has produced a bill on triggering Article 50 to put to a commons vote. As part of the explanatory notes of this very short bill, was the revelation that Britian will be leaving both the EU and Euratom. Euratom, a separate legal entity to the EU but governed by EU institutions, has controlled nuclear power in Europe since 1957.
The move has been met with shock by the industry, with Dr Paul Dorfman, honorary senior researcher at the Energy Institute at University College London, calling it a “lose-lose situation” due to the potential for reduced competitiveness and reduced safety. There will be increased pressure on the already under-resourced Office for Nuclear Regulation to cover all of Euratom’s responsibilities including non-proliferation inspections, authorizing the sale of nuclear material and safeguarding power, fuel fabrication and waste sites. Alternatively the UK would need to negotiate with the International Atomic Energy Agency for help with this new burden. The decision will likely impact the UK’s plans for new power stations, research, skills development and dealing with the waste legacy.
The decision will also likely mean the eventual loss of the world leading Fusion experiment based in Culham, Oxfordshire, involving 350 scientists and funding from 40 countries, to another country such as Germany or France. This loss could risk perpetrating across the nuclear research space, with the isolation from Euratom making the UK far less attractive for research and innovation leading to a funding and brain drain at the very time the UK is trying to reinvigorate its nuclear leadership through it’s Industrial Strategy.
A complex set of negotiations will now have to take place as most nuclear co-operation with the UK relies on safeguards provided through Euratom. It may not be possible to agree and ratify new agreements before Britain leaves the EU in 2019. According to Vince Zabielski, a senior lawyer at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, “current new build projects will be placed on hold while those standalone treaties are negotiated” meaning possible delays at Hinkley as well as Bradwell, Moorside and Wylfa.
The decision however is not just bad for the UK, but for nuclear as a whole. With the UK one of the last big supporters of the technology, weakening its strength in the field will give power to anti-nuclear camps across the continent.
Weinberg Next Nuclear is very concerned that the departure from Euratom could severely damage the UK’s nuclear industry, with impacts on energy security, industrial competitiveness and decarbonisation objectives. We find no reason why such drastic action needs to be taken. Article 50 deals with the two Treaties of Lisbon: the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However the Euratom treaty is separate, not mentioned in either of the above treaties thus there is no reason for including Euratom in any part of Article 50 debate. As Jonathan Leech, a senior lawyer and nuclear expert at Prospect Law said, “there doesn’t seem to have been any real explanation as to why, because we are going towards the unknown at great speed. Legally we don’t have to [leave Euratom because the UK is leaving the EU],”.
Weinberg Next Nuclear thus urges the government to reconsider and avoid the highly damaging consequences this unnecessary withdrawal could have on the UK’s nuclear future.
Source for the above “whiny”2017 Weinberg article here http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/2017/01/27/leaving-euratom-the-government-should-reconsider/
Source to the implementation of MPE changes here (deleted off the internet so here is a cached copy) ; Luxembourg 2014 http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:l79wNIabyYoJ:126.96.36.199/aifm/documenti/data/pubblici/doc/2014/2014_02_26_RP_174.pdf+&cd=19&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ie&client=ubuntu
Link to the German comment on implementation of the new EU radiological regulations here with some of the sepcifications for changes including reducing the use of X-rays etc (In English with link to the original German article) January 2017; https://nuclear-news.net/2017/01/27/new-radiological-protection-act-and-progress-on-nuclear-phase-out-in-germany/
Link to one attack on the Euratom treaty concerning the treaties minimising of health effects using UK backed experts; https://rejustificationofeuratomireland.wordpress.com/