The other, forgotten Brexit is going like clockwork. Preparations for ‘Brexatom’ are a model of national focus and efficiency. We can now be fairly confident that Britain’s nuclear industry and power plants will not face a cliff-edge disaster even if there is no deal with the EU. The Government’s ‘technical notice’ on civil nuclear regulation – released in the avalanche of ‘doomsday’ scenarios – is almost reassuring. A year ago, experts were alarmed over what would happen when Britain left the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), our super-regulator. It manages all nuclear materials in the EU, carries out inspections, and oversees all supply. The UK ceded control over its nuclear industry to Euratom when the country joined the EU, just as it ceded treaty control over trade deals to the Commission. Many feared Britain would be thrown into legal limbo, with no treaty access to nuclear fuel for reactors, endangering 20pc of our power generation. It would be outside the international safeguards regime that makes nuclear business possible. They fretted that Britain’s industrial eco-system of 65,000 hi-tech, well-paid jobs in the nuclear supply-chain – such as Urenco’s centrifuge and uranium enrichment operations in Chester – might spiral into crisis. Some thought it might take years to negotiate 18 fresh treaties with other nuclear states, and that we would be held hostage to political demands. Diplomacy is often painfully slow in this highly-regulated sphere. Yet one by one the obstacles are falling away. The UK Nuclear Industry Association – still in despair just months ago – says the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has moved with impressive speed, beefing up its Brexatom nuclear team from two to 45 staff. The sense of dread is fading.
Telegraph 24th Aug 2018 read more »
The UK government has issued technical notices on how civil nuclear regulation and nuclear research will be affected, and actions that will need to be taken by operators, should the country leave the European Union next year without an agreement.
World Nuclear News 24th Aug 2018 read more »
If the UK and the EU fail to reach an agreement on Brexit terms, the UK will no longer be a member of the Euratom R&T programme, no longer be a member of Fusion for Energy, and will no longer be able to collaborate on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project through the EU, the government said today. In a paper on nuclear research if there is no Brexit deal, the UK government said it is committed to continued domestic research and other international partnerships to ensure the UK retains its “world leading position” in this field. The paper said the UK is on track to have bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements in place with “key priority partners” ahead of Brexit in March 2019. This will allow for continued, unimpeded civil nuclear trade and nuclear research cooperation with these countries. But the UK will no longer be a member of Fusion for Energy, the organisation responsible for providing the EU’s contribution to the multinational Iter fusion project in France. This means UK businesses will not be able to bid for contracts to work on the Iter project. However, the UK government said today it would be willing to discuss opportunities for UK researchers, companies, and institutions, to collaborate on “this critical experiment”.
Nucnet 23rd Aug 2018 read more »