The UK’s withdrawal from the Euratom treaty should not fetter the ability of the UK’s nuclear industry to co-operate on a cross-border basis, a heavyweight committee of MPs has told the government. In a report, published on 4 April, the House of Commons Exiting the European Union select committee, recommends that the government “needs to be clear what kind of relationship it wishes to pursue with Euratom” once the UK has departed from the EU. The committee highlights the importance of continued international co-operation on nuclear issues, post-Brexit. “It is important that whatever the relationship is, it does not reduce the ability of the UK to pursue international cooperation in the civil nuclear industry and collaborative research in the future, including Horizon 2020 and its successor,” the report states. The risks of a rushed exit from the Euratom arrangements are flagged up in a report by Dutch MPs, which is cited by the select committee. The recently published report by the standing committee on European Affairs in the Dutch Parliament says that future of the UK’s Euratom arrangements can and should be kept separate from the wider EU withdrawal negotiations. The committee rejects the UK government’s case that it needs to leave Euratom in order to make a clean break with the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Utility Week 4th April 2017 read more »
Just as European scientists here gear up to put decades of experiments to the test and try to bottle up the nuclear reaction that powers every star in the universe, Brexit is throwing the future of their work into doubt. The 34-year-old Joint European Torus (JET), which sits in the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy’s retro 1960s laboratory, is a crucial part of an international research push on nuclear fusion that hopes to, one day, fuel homes and cities with energy free of greenhouse gases and waste. Despite its location in the Oxfordshire meadows, JET is an EU venture through and through. The hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians who visit the center to conduct experiments, as well as the parts used to assemble the world’s biggest nuclear fusion reactor so far, come from all around the Union. Crucially, so does the €283 million that underpins the JET program for the five years through 2018. New European Commission funding, at least for 2019 and 2020, looked pretty certain — until Britain’s referendum, and London’s announcement in January that it would leave the European atomic energy community, Euratom, once the U.K. leaves the block in two years.
Politico 3rd April 2017 read more »
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said that leaving the European Union (EU) – and by proxy the Europe wide atomic regulator Euratom – could disrupt the regulation of radioactive material. His warning comes a week after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 to start negotiations to leave the single market. Greatrex, who was the Shadow Energy Minister from 2011 to 2015, said the exit from the EU also means that safeguarding duties – designed to avoid the weaponisation or improper use of nuclear material – would have to be handed over from the pan-European atomic agency or paid for as a third party service. Greatrex is now calling on the UK Government to set up a working group to help speed up the process – and ensure the British nuclear industry is not left in no-mans land in terms of regulation. He recently went on a trip to Brussells to speak to various Euopean figures about his concerns. He added: “What needs to happen in these two years is the UK needs to determine how it will be doing it’s safeguarding inspections. “You could pay Euratom to carry on doing it or you could give it to your own regulator for an additional responsibility. “However, if it gets to the two year mark and there’s a gap where things aren’t in place then it will be very difficult to do much at all.
Energy Voice 5th April 2017 read more »