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UK: New Nuclear Reactors in Jeopardy because of Brexit?

No2Nuclear Power nuClear news No.93, March 2017    A footnote in the Parliamentary Bill published on 26th January to authorise Brexit confirmed that the UK intends to leave EURATOM as well as the European Union. (1) Up until that point this was a grey area with disagreements over whether Brexit meant the UK would also have to leave EURATOM……..

The decision has wide-ranging implications for Britain’s nuclear industry, research, access to fissile materials and the status of approximately 20 nuclear co-operation agreements that it has with other countries around the world. The UK is going to have to strike new international agreements with all these countries to maintain access to nuclear power technology – crucially with the US because several of the UK’s existing and planned nuclear reactors use US technology or fuel. A new bilateral agreement will also be needed with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Nuclear co-operation agreements can take considerable time to agree and ratify. It may not be possible to complete them before Britain leaves the EU in 2019

New Reactors in Jeopardy? The concern now in the UK nuclear industry is that leaving EURATOM will complicate and delay the UK’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. “The new wave of British nuclear power stations was in jeopardy” said the Times. Withdrawal could cause “major disruption” according to the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) particularly for Horizon and Nugen, which are developing plans for reactors on Anglesey and in Cumbria because their plans involve co-operation with US nuclear companies. Former Labour MP Tom Greatrex, now chief executive of the NIA, said: “The UK nuclear industry has made it crystal clear to the government before and since the referendum that our preferred position is to maintain membership of EURATOM.” (3) Although Horizon, whose reactors would use US nuclear fuel, says it is reassured by the government’s commitment to put new regulatory arrangements in place quickly. (4)

The Hinkley Point C station in Somerset could also face renewed problems….. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo93.pdf

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March 4, 2017 - Posted by | politics, UK

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