EU diplomats involved in divorce talks with London seem to have taken as a threat the UK’s recent position paper that mentioned shipping back European nuclear waste, media reported Wednesday.
In last week’s paper on nuclear materials and safeguards issues, the UK government said it retained the right to "return radioactive waste… to its country of origin."
A state-run plant in northwest England has been processing nuclear waste from Germany, Italy and Sweden.
An unnamed adviser to the UK government, which is negotiating a post-Brexit cooperation deal with the EU’s Euratom nuclear agency, told the Financial Times newspaper Brussels could see a "boatload of plutonium" in the Antwerp harbor unless a pact was made.
EU diplomats reportedly replied they had taken note of the veiled threat, with one source joking they would have the coastguard at the ready.
British and EU officials converged in Brussels this week for negotiations aimed at agreeing the terms of Britain’s departure from the union – and simultaneously from the 1957 deal on Euratom – scheduled for March 2019.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the European Union had balked at the UK’s proposal of a new nuclear deal with London, demanding it accepted the jurisdiction of the European court of justice on the issue, something the UK prime minister is not ready to do.