As part of its preparations for Brexit, the UK Government announced its commitment to leaving Euratom, the European nuclear safety and research community that was set up in 1957 at the beginning of the European Economic Community.
The Euratom treaty includes the provision of safeguards arrangements for non-proliferation of nuclear materials. Nuclear safeguards are measures to verify that countries comply with international treaty obligations not to use nuclear materials from civil nuclear programmes to manufacture nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Safeguards Bill currently going through Parliament, will give ONR the legal powers to deliver a domestic safeguards regime, meeting the UK’s international obligations and we are currently working to establish what will be needed to meet these following withdrawal from Euratom. This will include setting up the necessary systems and recruiting and training specialist inspectors.
This area of work is being ably led in ONR by Mina Golshan who recently gave evidence to two parliamentary committees and represents one of the most significant changes in the regulator’s history.
The UK will need to establish a UK State System of Accountancy for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC), which will be developed over time to deliver additional assurance and verification activities to existing Euratom standards. The exact terms are subject to negotiations between Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
ONR will continue to work with the Government, providing advice and expertise as necessary, and will keep you up to date with the work we are undertaking. For more information on the Bill please see the Government website.