The UK’s nuclear industry will need more than two years of Brexit negotiations to prepare for a departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), experts told members of parliament last week. The country’s numerous arrangements with European Union member states would each need to be replicated and this could take a decade, they said. Each EU country decides alone whether to include nuclear power in its energy mix or not, but Euratom establishes a common market in nuclear goods, services, capital and people within the EU. It also facilitates UK participation in long-term research and development projects, and provides a framework for international nuclear safeguard compliance. The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee heard evidence on 28 February from David Senior, director of assurance, policy and international, at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), and Rupert Cowen, senior commercial and nuclear energy lawyer at Prospect Law. All four said that even transitional measures would be challenging to complete within the two years the government would have to negotiate its exit from the EU, after it triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as expected this month. The inquiry is entitled ‘Leaving the EU: energy and climate negotiation priorities’.
World Nuclear News 6th March 2017 read more »
Letter sent to FT: Your Big Read analysis of the implications of the UK leaving the EU nuclear agency, Euratom, as part of Brexit, covered many important aspects, but was inaccurate in a number of aspects. (“Brexit’s nuclear fallout” March 3. This is in part because your reporters depend in great part on citing academics and other nuclear industry insiders who have a vested interest in the status quo. Indeed, it reflects the extraordinary lobby on behalf of Euratom demonstrated in the House of Lords by several dozen peers in their Parliamentary debate on March 3, on an amendment trying to protect UK membership of Euratom, in which not one spoke against Euratom, including the Government minister in opposing the amendment!
Dave Lowry’s Blog 3rd March 2017 read more »
Letter: Dr Glen Plant, Farnham, You write, in “Brexit’s nuclear fallout”, that “the UK’s departure from the EU will require withdrawal from Euratom, a separate legal entity but one governed by EU institutions”. It requires no such thing. Euratom withdrawal is a political decision by the British government. Para 18 of the Explanatory Notes to the Article 50 bill provides that the EU includes the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), “as the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 sets out that the term ‘EU’ includes (as the context permits or requires) Euratom”. It assumes that the context permits or requires that the vote to leave the EU included a vote to leave Euratom, but, as you point out, Euratom is a separate legal entity and of vital importance to an entire industry and, to paraphrase the standfirst to your article, “when Britons voted to leave the EU few considered there would be implications for its nuclear industry”. Energy minister Jesse Norman, I suggest, does not regard Euratom withdrawal as a “regrettable necessity” so much as a doctrinaire consequence of escape at all costs from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU, a court hardly dealing with fundamental principles of domestic sovereignty here.
FT 7th March 2017 read more »