The UK nuclear industry has issued its strongest warning yet to ministers on the problems it faces if the government is unable to strike new international atomic power deals during Brexit talks. Failure to put in place alternative arrangements to replace the existing European nuclear treaty, Euratom, which the UK is quitting as part of the article 50 process, would have a “dramatic impact” on Hinkley Point C and other new power stations around the country, the industry said. Ministers must avoid a “cliff edge” when the UK exits Euratom or face “major disruption to business across the whole nuclear fuel cycle”, the Nuclear Industry Association will warn the government on Wednesday. The stark briefing to officials, seen by the Guardian, comes just a day after MPs said the continued operations of the UK nuclear industry were at risk from exiting the Euratom treaty. A Lords committee on Tuesday also said the UK risked losing access to markets and skills when leaving Euratom. Tom Greatrex, the chief executive of the NIA, said: “We’ve had today two select committee reports that have both touched on this. The industry has been and is clear to government we are ready to do what we can – but it needs the government to get on with this and engage now, regardless of all the other issues they have to deal with. If the UK has not replaced the Euratom safeguards regime with its own system by the time it left Euratom, normal business could be disrupted right across the nuclear industry,” the NIA paper said. Falling back on World Trade Organisation standards would risk putting the UK in breach of its obligations in international nuclear law, the organisation added.
Guardian 2nd May 2017 read more »
Withdrawing from Euratom, MPs note, would mean the UK would be without the necessary independent safeguards for our nuclear energy industry that are required by international law. A quarter of Euratom’s safeguards team currently work on the UK’s nuclear power sector. The committee suggests that the UK should delay withdrawing from the Euratom Treaty to give more time for negotiating an alternative arrangement with the EU.
In Facts 2nd May 2017 read more »
The UK’s civil nuclear sector has been blighted by the indecision of successive governments and with an election in June 2017 it is critical for the new government to set out a decisive future for this industry, a House of Lords report says. The science and technology select committee report, published on 2 May 2017, also sets out the risks to the UK nuclear sector if membership to Euratom expires at the end of the two-year Brexit negotiating period without a replacement. The UK risks losing its lead in fusion research as well as losing access to the markets and skills it needs to construct new nuclear power plants and existing power plants could be unable to acquire fuel, the report says.
NucNet 2nd May 2017 read more »
Two UK parliamentary committees have published separate reports – one related to research and development, the other concerning Brexit – that both call on the government to take action to ensure the future competitiveness of the country’s nuclear industry. According to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, “We have reached a critical moment for the future of the United Kingdom as a serious nuclear nation.” It continues, “The undoubted potential of the civil nuclear sector has been blighted by the indecision of successive governments.” Civil nuclear is a long-term industry where changes in direction in successive governments’ policies and periods of lack of clarity have had “a detrimental effect” on the development of the industry, particularly in respect of civil nuclear generation over the last 20 years, the report says. The government has highlighted the importance of the nuclear sector in its industrial strategy green paper and must develop “a clear, long-term vision” and a set of goals for civil nuclear strategy, it adds. In its report – Nuclear research and technology: Breaking the cycle of indecision – the committee says it is “critical” for the incoming government to set out a decisive future for the industry. The report, published today, sets out a series of recommendations for the new government after next month’s general election.
World Nuclear News 2nd May 2017 read more »