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UK government outlines plans for the civil nuclear sector if Britain leaves European Union without any deal

‘No deal’ nuclear Brexit papers published by BEIS  https://utilityweek.co.uk/no-deal-nuclear-brexit-papers-published-beis/   24/08/2018 at 8:02pm Adam John   The government has outlined plans for the civil nuclear sector to prepare for a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU with “no deal”.

As part of the first batch of 25 documents, which offer advice to people and organisations, the government has published two papers looking at the key issues of regulations and research for nuclear.

Rules on the ownership of nuclear material, supply contracts and nuclear import and export licences are set out in the papers.

All operators in the UK civil nuclear sector will need to comply with a new domestic safeguards regime, which will come into force after 29 March 2019. The UK has already passed new legislation so that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) can oversee domestic safeguards instead of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

The new regime is not dependent on there being a deal with the EU and Euratom, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

Agreements have been signed by the government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to replace the existing trilateral agreements between the IAEA, Euratom and the UK.

BEIS says Euratom ownership of special fissure material in the UK will end and operators will have full ownership after Brexit. Energy UK said the documents contain “some important clarifications” but the trade body expects the second batch of papers to provide “more clarity”.

It stresses a “no deal” scenario will have “significant and negative consequences” for the energy industry.

But the government insists a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement “remains unlikely”.

It said it has a duty to “prepare for all eventualities” until it can be certain of the outcome of those negotiations.

Under current rules the UK is a member of Euratom, which facilitates cooperation between EU countries in the civil nuclear sector. Following Brexit the country will leave the organisation.

Upon exit from the EU, Euratom Supply Agency approval will no longer be required for supply contracts for nuclear material agreed by UK-established operators, except where these involve an EU27-established operator.

With regards to import and export licences, if there is no deal on exit day then under updated arrangements, importers may need to obtain an import licence for relevant nuclear materials from the EU.

Rules on managing spent fuel and radioactive waste have also been considered. A no deal situation will mean the UK will no longer have to notify the European Commission of plans for the disposal of radioactive waste.

A second notice explains how civil nuclear research that the UK already undertakes with the EU will be affected in the event of no deal.

Through the Euratom research and training programme, of which the country is currently a part of, the UK participates in several research programmes.

In a no deal scenario, the UK will:No longer be a member of the Euratom research and training programme
No longer be a member of Fusion for Energy
Therefore, no longer be able to collaborate on the international thermonuclear experimental reactor project through the EU

The government has however reaffirmed its commitment to nuclear research. This will mean continued domestic research, as well as its other international partnerships, to ensure the UK retains its “world leading position” in this field. Responding to the publication of the first batch of advice papers, Energy UK’s head of European affairs, Marta Krajewska, said: “While it contains some important clarifications for the nuclear sector, as well as on a number of horizontal issues with impact on our industry, we would expect the second batch to provide more clarity in a number of other areas critical for the energy sector.

“We would also stress that, while it is responsible for government and business to prepare for all eventualities, a ‘no-deal’ scenario will have significant and negative consequences for the energy industry and would likely create cost pressure that could impact customers’ bills.

“Energy UK believes that a deal, with a transition period, is by far the best way forward for the energy industry and the UK as a whole.” The first batch of papers also covered areas including medical supplies, financial services, farming and organic food production. Around 80 notices are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab admitted to a risk of potential “short-term disruption” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal but said it remains an unlikely outcome.

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August 25, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, UK

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