Individuals and businesses across the UK depend on a reliable and affordable supply of gas and electricity. In recent years, the UK has achieved such a supply in partnership with the EU, working with other Member States to make cross-border trade in energy easier and cheaper. Despite having played a leading role in developing the EU’s Internal Energy Market (IEM), the UK is now on course to leave it. Our inquiry revealed strong support across the energy sector to continue to participate in the IEM, but this is unlikely to be possible if the Government pursues its policy of leaving the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The UK will need to continue to trade energy with the EU in order to meet demand, but if such trade takes place outside the IEM it is likely to be less efficient, potentially raising costs for consumers. In addition to changing the UK-EU trading relationship, Brexit raises a number of other potential challenges to the UK’s energy security. The UK’s use of nuclear material is currently enabled by its membership of Euratom, which facilitates trade in such material and ensures it is not diverted for military use (as required by international law). The UK will be leaving Euratom as well as the EU and, if the Government does not replicate its provisions by the date of departure, the UK could be unable to trade in nuclear goods and services, including importing nuclear material, as a result. The Government is taking measures to avoid this worst-case scenario, which could quickly lead to power shortages. But serious concerns have also been raised over whether the Office for Nuclear Regulation will be able to recruit and train sufficient inspectors in time, and whether it will be possible to build new nuclear generation sites, such as Hinkley C, without access to specialist EU workers. The Single Electricity Market (SEM) on the island of Ireland has been a key dividend of the peace process, reducing energy prices in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and helping to achieve decarbonisation targets. It is therefore vital that the SEM is able to continue post-Brexit. Given that its functioning requires the implementation of EU energy laws in Northern Ireland, the mechanics of maintaining the SEM will require careful consideration and new arrangements, particularly if the UK were to leave the IEM.
Parliament 29th Jan 2018 read more »
The nuclear power industry presents “particular challenges” in the context of Brexit, the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee says in a report published today. In gathering evidence for the report – Brexit: energy security, looking at implications for energy supply, consumer costs and decarbonisation – the committee heard that the UK’s ability to build future nuclear generation sites, including Hinkley Point C, is in doubt if access to specialist EU workers is curtailed. Failure to replace the provisions of the European Atomic Energy Community, also known as Euratom Treaty, by the time the UK leaves the EU could result in the UK being unable to import nuclear materials, it says.
World Nuclear News 29th Jan 2018 read more »
The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has welcomed the recommendations set out in the House of Lord’s EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee in its report: Brexit: Energy Security. Commenting on the House of Lords EU Energy & Environment committee’s report, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “The UK’s civil nuclear industry welcomes the conclusions of the committee’s report. They recognise the scale of the challenge in replacing Euratom arrangements, and the need for a pragmatic and flexible approach if a cliff-edge exit is to be avoided.
Politics Home 29th Jan 2018 read more »