Brexit Could Also Hurt Britain's Nuclear Research and Safety Inspections

By James O Malley on at

Another wrinkle has been added to an already complex Brexit process. Just a small one... Umm.. Nuclear safety.

Politico reports that when we trigger Article 50, not only will we be withdrawing from the European Union, but we'll also be pulling out of Euratom, the EU agency which oversees nuclear safety and security across the continent.

That's right. Somehow Europe has configured itself so that Brexit won't affect our Eurovision membership, but will affect nuclear safety.

The inclusion of Euratom in our middle finger to our continental colleagues was revealed in a note on the Article 50 bill that has just been put before Parliament.

The upshot of this is that it means Britain will have to hire tonnes of new people itself to help do stuff like carry out nuclear non-proliferation inspections in countries like Iran, authorise the sale of nuclear material, and inspect our own nuclear power plants to make sure that everything is fine. As Politico notes, what makes this particularly complicated is that at the moment Euroatom is the legal owner of all of the actual nuclear materials - and this will have to be transferred to Britain... but then Britain also does a lot of the work reprocessing materials on behalf other members. Basically, it'll be a bit of a nightmare.

The other really disappointing outcome from Brexit could also be Britain pulling out of Euratom's Research & Development wing, which is currently working on making fusion power a reality. At the moment, we're helping construct a brand new massive fusion reactor in France, but Brexit could put that in jeopardy. [Politico]