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GMB Backs Call For Action on Euratom

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Embargoed until 00:01 on Wednesday 13 December 2017?

GMB BACKS SELECT COMMITTEE'S CALL FOR URGENT GOVERNMENT ACTION OVER EURATOM NUCLEAR SAFEGUARDS

 

Crisis over Euratom entirely of the government’s own making and risks collapsing the UK’s entire nuclear industry – including severely delaying the new £18billion Hinkley Point C power plant - for little more than ideologically driven axe-grinding, says GMB

 

GMB, the union for workers in the nuclear sector, has backed a select committee’s call on the Government to secure its ongoing delivery of existing safeguards requirements in the UK.

 

A new report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee today said the Government should be seeking to retain as close as possible an association with Euratom, rather than increasing investment in contingency arrangements which may ultimately not be required.

 

In evidence to the committee, GMB said the UK should remain in Euratom, the European nuclear research agency, until a viable alternative can be found which protects Britain’s nuclear interests.

 

GMB says that leaving Euratom before a viable alternative is in place could threaten the UK’s entire nuclear industry – including the new £18billion Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset - and it would be sensible to delay any changes to the UK’s membership of Euratom until arrangements have been agreed that guarantee UK nuclear interests would be protected to the benefit of the whole country.

 

For the civil nuclear sector, the Committee found that “no deal” would be a highly risky option in the absence of transitional arrangements.

 

Without nuclear cooperation agreements, and an international safeguards regime (currently delivered by Euratom), the Committee's report said the UK would not be able to guarantee access to materials essential to the running the country’s nuclear power stations - which at present provide 21% of our power.

 

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said:

 

“The BEIS Select Committee Report is bang on the money. 

 

"The crisis over Euratom is entirely of the government’s own making and risks collapsing the UK’s entire nuclear industry – including severely delaying the new £18billion Hinkley Point C power plant - for little more than ideologically driven axe-grinding.

 

“As GMB has maintained for nearly a year now, there is no need to leave Euratom.

 

"Instead it would be sensible to delay any changes to our membership of Euratom until arrangements are agreed and in place that guarantee UK nuclear interests are protected.  Britain must have a replacement that protect the whole country’s interests, or sufficient time to mirror existing safeguards and agreements.

 

“Theresa May’s paranoia over Supreme Court influence in UK affairs is clouding her judgement over the much more important matter of safeguarding Britain’s nuclear industry, our power supply and our future economic stability.”

 

ENDS

 

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

 

Notes to editors:

 

UK MUST STAY IN EURATOM UNTIL NUCLEAR INTERESTS CAN BE GUARANTEED

 

GMB, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/uk-must-stay-in-euratom.html

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