Brexit ‘puts operation of the UK nuclear industry at risk’, warns Select Committee

“The continued operations of the UK nuclear industry are at risk,” said Iain Wright MP, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, because “The impact of Brexit on Euratom has not been thought through.” He said ministers must act as urgently as possible to extend or replace the UK’s membership of the European nuclear club, which underpins trade in nuclear goods and services. “The repercussions of failing to do so are huge,” he warned.
The warning came as the committee launched its report Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy. Wright said, “The Prime Minister has made it politically unfeasible to remain in Euratom long term. The government now has a responsibility to end the uncertainty hanging over the industry.”

The report said that across the energy sector, in its negotiations the government should seek to avoid disruption to the energy sector and the domestic climate change agenda. “Arrangements mirroring the status quo should be sought and implemented as far as possible”. MPs stressed the importance of maintaining  access to the Internal Energy Market and  recommended that the government seek to retain membership of the EU ETS until at least 2020.

In the longer term, MPs said they were concerned that the UK will become a “rule taker” outside the EU, “complying with, but unable to influence, rules and standards.” It warned, “If our formal standards diverge too far from those applying in European countries, there is a risk that the UK could become a dumping ground for energy inefficient products. We recommend that the Government retains or mirrors European energy product standards for the immediate future at least and should also, as far as possible, maintain routes to influence their development, for example through active UK participation in European standards bodies.”

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“What’s our European nuclear future? Brexit is likely to be more disruptive to our existing nuclear fuel cycle businesses – and hence existing reactors – than our new-build programme”

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