UK continues to prepare for Euratom exit

14 January 2019

Delivering the deal negotiated with the European Union "remains the government's top priority", the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in an update on EU exit preparations on 11 January. "This has not changed. However, as a responsible government we are preparing for all scenarios and in December 2018 Cabinet agreed to accelerate the next phase of no deal planning," BEIS said.

The statement includes policy on nuclear power, since the UK will leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) at the same time it exits the EU, on 29 March.

"The government is taking the steps to prepare for the UK leaving the European Union and is working to ensure that businesses have the information they need to prepare. As well as regular and ongoing engagement with research institutes, businesses, and business and trade representative groups to discuss their priorities and concerns, we have taken forward significant preparations," BEIS said.

These include passing of new legislation to lay the groundwork for the UK’s future outside the EU with 57 out of 63 required statutory instruments required by exit day, including new laws for a nuclear safeguards regime that will maintain the UK industry's ability to trade in the nuclear sector while ensuring the UK remains on track to meet its international obligations on day one of exit.

They also include signing Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) with Australia, Canada and the United States. The NCAs allow the UK to continue civil nuclear cooperation when current Euratom arrangements cease to apply in the UK

BEIS is working with Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain, the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator and interconnector operators to put in place arrangements that aim to ensure that electricity and gas continue to flow across borders through interconnectors.

Its preparations also include, it said, "protecting our climate ambition by taking steps to ensure that, if we leave the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, on day one companies will still have to report their carbon emissions and there will be a carbon tax of equivalent impact - to make sure that these important emissions don’t increase as a result of a no deal scenario."

Another measure was publishing a package of secondary legislation in December to ensure the UK's energy laws function effectively after exit day, including: European Network Codes, Electricity and Gas Acts, and EU regulations under the Third Energy Package.

Tomorrow, British members of parliament will vote on the deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May on how to exit the EU. She is expected to lose the vote.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News