U.K. Reaches Draft Deal to Ensure Nuclear Supply After Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. reached an accord with international inspectors that will help keep the flow of nuclear materials going after the country leaves the European Union.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors could approve the U.K.’s draft safeguards this week in Vienna, according to a statement. The IAEA deal will “replace existing agreements” between the U.K. and European Atomic Energy Community, or Euratom, that are needed for the import and export of fuel used in nuclear power plants.

Euratom’s main function is to safeguard nuclear fuel, making sure it isn’t diverted to make weapons. The U.K. will lose that service from Euratom once it departs the EU. Companies including Urenco Ltd. and Electricite de France SA had warned that leaving Euratom without adequately replacing its monitoring services could endanger Britain’s nuclear industry.

Membership in Euratom has helped Britain become a leading manufacturer of reactor fuel and a key participant in EU-led nuclear research projects. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has drawn fire for the decision to leave Euratom. The organization governs the transport of radioactive materials, reactor fuel, medical isotopes and commercial atomic technology.

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