The British government and media are discussing with renewed concern the prospect of the UK’s departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Current plans would see the UK leave both the European Union and Euratom by April 2019. The peaceful use of nuclear energy within the EU is governed by the 1957 Euratom Treaty which established the Euratom Community as a separate legal entity, but which is now governed by the EU’s institutions. The UK government announced the intention to leave Euratom in explanatory notes to a bill it published on 26 January authorising Brexit. The notes state the bill empowers the prime minister to leave both the EU and Euratom. The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported yesterday that there are “plenty of would-be rebels who believe they have the numbers on all sorts of issues to force the government to back down”. She added: “First up could be membership of the European nuclear safety agency, Euratom. The rebels are very confident they have the numbers to get the prime minister to back down without even having to put an amendment down. One cabinet minister told me it would be a sensible move to show willing to compromise on an issue which doesn’t raise much public concern, and would not raise too much suspicion of Brexit backsliding.” The Guardian newspaper said on 10 July: “Of all the many European collaborations threatened by Brexit, the UK’s participation in [Euratom] might seem an odd subject for Tory [Conservative] rebels to pick for their first fight. But the government’s policy on leaving this nuclear safety and research watchdog provides an unusually clear-cut example of the economic pain of taking back control – and one for which there is unusually limited political justification.”
World Nuclear News 12th July 2017 read more »
The British government’s plan to withdraw from a seminal European treaty governing the movement of nuclear material is generating alarm that it might hobble Britain’s nuclear industry, destroy thousands of jobs and even deny cancer patients treatments that rely heavily on nuclear isotopes. At issue is the six-decades old European Atomic Energy Community, also known as Euratom, a seemingly arcane sounding treaty signed in 1957 with a nevertheless crucial role. It governs the development of nuclear energy and its trade across Europe, funding research and development and assuring that European countries do not divert nuclear materials to military uses. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, it can no longer be a party to the treaty. But leading members of both the Conservative and Labour parties, the nuclear industry and the medical establishment are lining up against her. The issue could come to a head on Thursday when the government announces a so-called repeal bill that would enshrine parts of European Union law into British law, a pivotal moment in its decision to leave the European Union. Advocates of Britain remaining in Euratom say it remains unclear what the bill will say about the treaty — if anything — and some members of Parliament, including some of Mrs. May’s fellow Conservatives, could revolt over the issue. Underlining those concerns, this week Dominic Cummings, director of the campaign to leave the European Union, turned to Twitter to castigate what he labeled “government morons” who want to withdraw from the treaty.
New York Times 13th July 2017 read more »
The government is due to start negotiations next week on the future of its post-Brexit international nuclear trading arrangements, the energy minister has revealed. Winding up a debate this morning in the House of Commons’ Westminster Hall on Euratom negotiations, Richard Harrington said that the talks would start on Monday following the publication of Euratom’s position paper. He said that the UK government wold be publishing its own position paper “imminently” and rejected concerns, expressed this week by radiologists, that withdrawal from Euratom would cut off the UK’s supply of radioactive isotopes used in cancer treatments.
Utility Week 12th July 2017 read more »
The U.K. is preparing a departure from Euratom that will keep disruptions to a “minimum,” as the government moves to quell concerns that ending European nuclear cooperation could put cancer patients at risk. The assurances came from Energy Minister Richard Harrington during a debate in Parliament on Wednesday. The transportation of radioactive materials used to diagnose and treat cancer has become grounds for a potential rebellion by Conservatives opposed to Brexit and Prime Minister Theresa May’s hard approach to it.
Bloomberg 12th July 2017 read more »
The Government came under fire today after it admitted it did not carry out a formal assessment of the impact of quitting the Euratom agency. Former minister Ed Vaizey said the failure was “surprising” because of possible consequences for jobs, energy supplies, research and medicine. MPs stepped up pressure on ministers this morning by holding a Commons debate on a decision they suspect was taken in 10 Downing Street with minimal consultation. They were demanding to see the legal advice that led the Government to insist that Britain had to leave at the same time as quitting the European Union.
Evening Standard 12tyh July 2017 read more »
The Conservative revolt over Theresa May’s plan to withdraw from the Euratom nuclear treaty has grown, with one former minister accusing the government of cutting off its nose to spite its face. A string of Tory MPs opposed leaving the body for nuclear cooperation during a Westminster Hall debate called by Labour’s Albert Owen, suggesting May has no Commons majority for the move. The government insists that leaving Euratom is an inevitable consequence of triggering article 50 and proceeding to Brexit – a position shared by the European negotiators. However, around a dozen Conservative MPs are pushing for the government to fight harder for the UK to stay in Euratom, which oversees the movement of nuclear materials across Europe.
Guardian 12th July 2017 read more »
The SNP-led Scottish Government wants to remain in the Euratom nuclear power treaty – despite the likelihood that Scotland will be hauled out of the treaty in the British Brexit from the EU-bloc.
Scottish Energy News 13th July 2017 read more »
The Scottish Government has raised concerns over the future transfer of radioactive materials in Scotland, after a Westminster debate saw Theresa May’s government maintain its commitment to withdrawing from an international nuclear treaty. With May facing growing opposition from her own party over plans to withdraw the UK’s membership of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which fosters cooperation on the safe handling of nuclear materials, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham expressed irritation over a lack of consultation from UK ministers. In a letter to the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Cunningham reiterated calls from the Scottish Government for the UK to retain membership of Euratom, or to seek associate membership if continued membership is not possible.
Holyrood 12th July 2017 read more »
Scotsman 12th July 2017 read more »
Mrs May unilaterally announced we will pulling out of the nuclear agency as it was subject to European Court of Justice jurisdiction. On legal advice she included withdrawing from Euratom in her Article 50 letter even though there are several other EU agencies and agreements which are also covered by the ECJ. Several Tory MPs are calling for the UK to remain in Euratom fearing it will damage our nuclear sector , lead to a brain drain and could hamper the NHS’s ability to carry out radiation treatment. The problem for Mrs May is if she gives ground on Euratom it could be the first domino to topple and lead to an unwinding of the whole Brexit project. It would also prove the test case for whether Article 50 is irrevocable.
Mirror 13th July 2017 read more »
The government should publish legal advice regarding its decision to leave the European nuclear regulator Euratom, former minister Ed Vaizey has said. He told MPs the UK was proposing to leave the body “on a technicality” when it was actually distinct from the EU. Urging a rethink during a Parliamentary debate, colleague Bob Neill said it would “not be the first time” legal advice given to ministers was wrong. The government will publish a paper setting out their stance on Thursday.
BBC 12th July 2017 read more »
Damian Green has hit back at “scaremongering” claims that quitting Euratom could threaten cancer treatment, amid growing Tory pressure to stay members of the EU’s nuclear regulator.
Politics Home 12th July 2017 read more »