A new pan-European nuclear group is being discussed after the UK’s decision to pull out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) plunged the Brussels-linked group into disarray. Tim Yeo, a former energy select committee chair, told The Sunday Telegraph that he will unveil plans in the coming weeks to replace Euratom, after Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed plans for Britain to quit the group once Article 50 is triggered. The exit could dash Britain’s hopes of co-operating in major international nuclear projects and delay the home grown Hinkley Point and Horizon plants while complicated new bilateral agreements are formed. Mr Yeo said the successor group to Euratom is envisaged as a wider Europe-based pro-nuclear club including the 27 European Union member states as well as countries outside the bloc that are also developing new nuclear power plants. The group could include the UK, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and potentially Russia, Mr Yeo said. “The need for discussion is urgent because the enforcement of nuclear rules and safety regulation is extremely important across Europe. We absolutely need to address these legal questions,” Mr Yeo said. Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) lobbied for the UK to remain in Euratom because it streamlines the movement of nuclear goods, people and services through a framework which governs safety standards. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the NIA, said existing outside of Euratom is possible but will not be easy or straightforward, adding it is “something that will have to be done by governments”. The UK will need to come to new agreements with individual EU member states but also secure deals with third countries, including Japan, Canada and the United States, which all have nuclear co-operation agreements within the Euratom framework.
Telegraph 4th Feb 2017 read more »