The government has set up a new team to spearhead the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, a senior official said this morning. In a speech at a Nuclear Industry Association conference this morning, Matt Clarke of the civil nuclear and resilience directorate at the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) said the new team had been set up within the department. He told delegates at the Nuclear New Build conference that the team would be involved in negotiations with the EU about establishing a nuclear co-operation arrangements with key partner states and establishing a new domestic nuclear safeguarding arrangements. Last week’s Queen’s Speech contained a bill to create a domestic nuclear safeguarding regime to replace the existing pan-European arrangements provided by Euratom. Clarke said: “Exit [from Euratom] does not affect the government’s aims of maintaining close co-operation on civil nuclear safety with Euratom members and the rest of the world.” He also tried to reassure the conference that the government remains committed to its small modular reactors (SMRs) competition despite a lack of progress since its launch last March. Clarke said: “The government recognises the pot of SMRs. There are a number of potential benefits in terms of providing a secure, low carbon energy source as well as broader industrial benefits and high value jobs.” He said that BEIS had met the companies which had submitted entries to the competition and would be “communicating next steps in due course.” He added that deciding how SMRs fit into the government’s wider industrial strategy was one of the “key questions” being addressed by NIA chair Lord Hutton, who is leading work on shaping a tailored “sector deal” for the nuclear industry.
Utility Week 27th June 2017 read more »