8. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and other key stakeholders on the potential effect of the UK leaving the Euratom treaty on energy suppliers and on the availability of radioisotopes for the NHS. (900024)
We have discussed the UK’s exit from Euratom across the Government and with key stakeholders. Our objective is to ensure that leaving Euratom has no adverse impact on energy suppliers or on our international commitments on nuclear non-proliferation. Medical radioisotopes are not special fissile nuclear material, and are not subject to international nuclear safeguards. Therefore, their availability should not be impacted by the UK’s exit from Euratom. As the hon. Lady will have seen, the Queen’s Speech announced the Government’s intention to legislate to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime.
Yesterday The Times reported that officials from the Minister’s Department estimated that it would take seven years to negotiate equivalent terms to this treaty. Given that experts have warned that, above all, we must avoid a cliff-edge withdrawal, does he not agree that leaving on the current timeline is infeasible and that it would be in the UK’s best interests to stay in Euratom and avoid this mess?
I should have welcomed the hon. Lady to her place in the House. Our objective in these proceedings is clear: we want to maintain the UK’s leading role as a responsible nuclear state, with world-leading nuclear research and development and a flourishing nuclear power industry. We will establish a regime that ensures that nothing changes in that regard as we leave Euratom.