Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has said that it is deeply concerning that Minister Naughten has not yet directly engaged with his UK counterpart Greg Clarke about nuclear safety concerns due to Brexit.
The UK has announced that it will leave EURATOM, the pan-European nuclear energy authority, when it leaves the European Union in March 2019. Since 1957, it has ensured the peaceful use and development of nuclear energy on the continent of Europe.
Deputy Dooley was commented after he received a less than hopeful response to a parliamentary question from Minister Naughten which detail that he has neither engaged with nor written to the UK Energy Secretary, Greg Clarke about the issue.
“The UK leaving EURATOM will have wide-ranging implications for the future of its nuclear industry and the 20 nuclear co-operation agreements it has with other nations.
“For Ireland and the remaining 26 member countries of the EU, this is a major worry. As it stands, all of the UK’s co-operation agreements are predicated on the EURATOM safety standards.
“Ireland cannot, and must not, accept any dilution of standards at UK nuclear sites. The UK is currently completing the construction of its first new nuclear power plant for over two decades at Hinkley Point which is less than 250 km from Rosslare. Leaving EURATOM could expose Ireland to reduced safety standards at this and other plant.
“Minister Naughten’s failure to engage with his UK counterpart to ensure that Ireland’s safety and concerns are not forgotten or ignored is inexcusable.
“The implications of the UK leaving EURATOM are, in many respects, wider than the decision to leave the EU.
“Leaving it up to the Brexit negotiations to deal with the decision to leave EURATOM is foolish. The Minister must realise the importance and urgency of this grasp this issue and start engaging with the UK government directly on the issue, and not leave it to others” concluded Dooley.