The SNP has criticised the UK government for going ahead with a “baseless Brexit” as the government confirmed it will exit from Euratom – the regulator responsible for nuclear safety and security across the EU – in parallel with British Independence from the EU-bloc. The Euratom Treaty is not part of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, and as later amended, but co-exists alongside the EU treaties. The exit from Euratom was pushed in the explanatory footnotes of the UK government’s five paragraph bill for the triggering of Article 50. The SNP has repeatedly pressed the UK government to publish a White Paper on their Brexit plans before the legislation reaches ‘Committee Stage’, to allow proper scrutiny of the government’s position on key policy issues, including nuclear energy. MP Hannah Bardell, the SNP spokesman in the Westminster parliament on Small Business, Enterprise & Innovation, commented: “The Nuclear Industry Association has already stressed that the preferred position is to maintain UK membership of Euratom. “”This government seeks to put nuclear energy at the heart of its energy strategy. Yet, leaving the agency will be of significant concern to the security of markets, businesses and workers in that sector.” Leading legal and nuclear energy experts have warned that quitting the Euratom treaty could lead to costly delays in EDF (which owns and operates the two Scottish nuclear power stations) actually building the £18bn new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point because of the need to re-negotiate similar terms for the UK outwith the EU-bloc. Councillor Ernie Galsworthy, Chairman of the pan-UK Nuclear-Free Local Authority association, commented: “The decision for the UK Government to withdraw from the Euratom Treaty is not a surprising one given the Brexit vote but it has huge implications not just for new nuclear build, but nuclear safety, regulation and security.
(This story won’t be on the SEN website until tomorrow)
Scottish Energy News 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Antony Froggatt: The UK government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is short, extremely short, at just 137 words, but will nevertheless have huge ramifications. Tucked away in the “Commentary on provisions of Bill” is the long-awaited clarification that Brexit will also mean Brexatom, with the UK leaving the Euratom Treaty. The existence of such a treaty may come as surprise to many people. Euratom was in fact one of the three founding treaties of what is now the European Union, and in 1957 established the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to support the development of nuclear energy. Since then it has remained largely unreformed, and exists as a legal entity separate from the EU. There was therefore some legal ambiguity as to whether the UK could remain with the Euratom after it left the European Union. This has now been clarified: the UK is leaving anyway. There will also be technical and institutional challenges to replace the functions carried out by Euratom safeguards inspectors. Chapter VII of the Euratom Treaty establishes a nuclear material control system, giving the European Commission responsibility for “satisfying itself” through physical inspections at nuclear facilities that material is not being diverted for military purposes.
The Conversation 30th Jan 2017 read more »
LOCAL MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has spoken out as the Government states it will leave Euratom, the EU’s framework for nuclear energy safety and development.
Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette 30th Jan 2017 read more »
The government intends to leave a Europe-wide nuclear co-operation body as part of Brexit.
Ministers said that would happen after the UK leaves the EU in a bill published to trigger Article 50. The European Atomic Energy Community or Euratom aims to pursue nuclear research and training activities with an emphasis on continually improving safety, security and radiation protection. The Euratom Programme also aims to develop nuclear skills and competence, enabling Europe to maintain world leadership in nuclear safety and waste management.
Energy Live News 30th Jan 2017 read more »
Britain’s first nuclear power station in two decades will be delayed by a government decision to quit Europe’s atomic power treaty, experts have warned. Ministers revealed on Thursday that Brexit would involve the UK leaving Euratom, which promotes research into nuclear power and uniform safety standards. The news poses problems for the Hinkley Point C station in Somerset, while raising questions over safety inspection regimes and the UK’s future participation in nuclear fusion research.
Business Green 30th Jan 2017 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with interest the UK Government’s announcement that it will pull out of the Euratom Treaty. This is part of the international agreements it has decided to withdraw from after the decision of the electorate to vote to leave the European Union (EU) (often known as ‘Brexit’). NFLA believes this decision has a direct impact on plans to develop new nuclear power stations in England and Wales, and all such developments should now be put on hold while greater clarity is found over what the UK Government will now do when it leaves the Euratom arrangements.
NFLA 30th Jan 2017 read more »