The Government needs to work closely with industry in order to bring about replacement arrangements for Euratom in a timely manner to avoid a cliff edge for the nuclear industry, is the main message from a new position paper, Exiting Euratom, published today by the UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).
The paper, prepared by the NIA following detailed consultation and discussion with its members, sets out the priority areas for negotiations with the European Commission as the UK ceases to be a full member of the Euratom community alongside the process to leave the EU. The paper also sets out the steps the UK Government need to take to avoid serious disruption to normal nuclear business in the UK and across the European Union.
The key steps for government include:
- Agreeing a replacement Voluntary Offer Agreement with the IAEA for a new UK safeguards regime
- Replacing the Nuclear Co-operation Agreements (NCA) with key nuclear markets; the Euratom Community, United States, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan and South Korea
- Clarifying the validation of the UK’s current bilateral Nuclear Co-operation Agreements with Japan and other nuclear states
- Setting out the process for the movement of nuclear material, goods, people and services
- Agreeing a new funding arrangement for the UK’s involvement in Fusion 4 Energy and wider European Union nuclear R&D programme
- Maintaining confidence in the industry and securing crucial investment
Addressing these priority areas will enable the nuclear sector to continue its work with other countries, both within and outside the continuing EU, as the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union.
However, given the amount to be concluded within the next 22 months, there is a risk that new arrangements will not be in place. The NIA is urging the Government to begin these negotiations by seeking an agreement with the EU that existing arrangements will continue to apply until the process of agreeing new arrangements is concluded, and avoiding the cliff edge scenario that is not in the interests of the industry, consumers, the UK or the EU.