Brexit Seen By The British Nuclear Industry

By Boris Le Ngoc

What is at stake for the U.K. industry and research centers?

Euratom underpins a number of the processes for the U.K.’s nuclear industry, all of which is it stake, but if the political will is there, it is likely the U.K. will continue to have a strong relationship with Euratom and other nuclear nations post-Brexit.

For instance, the U.K. would need to introduce its own safeguards regime, create a new agreement for the movement of nuclear people, services, materials and goods with the European Union (EU), and ratify bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with a number of other nuclear nations including the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.

To ensure EU funded R&D work in the U.K. continues, the government would need to negotiate a new agreement with the Fusion 4 Energy programme which includes the JET programme of work at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, England.

None of these challenges are insurmountable and with nuclear new build, operations and decommissioning underway in the U.K., it is clearly in the interest of both the U.K. and European nuclear industries that a close relationship is forged.

In terms of research programs?

As referred to, new funding arrangements would have to agreed for any EU research currently taking place in the U.K. The U.K. government would also need to create a new relationship with the wider Fusion 4 Energy programme and its work on the ITER project.

Control? 

As noted above the U.K. will need to introduce its own safeguards regime when the U.K. has left Euratom.

And trade relations?

Inside Euratom, the U.K. nuclear industry is affiliated with a number of Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) that the EU has negotiated over the years. The U.K. has a number of bilateral agreements outside of the Euratom framework but these would need to be amended to address the fact that the U.K. is no longer a member of Euratom and new NCAs would have to be drafted and then ratified with other important nuclear markets including the United States and Canada.


This article was reprinted with permission. It originally appeared on the SFEN (French Nuclear Energy Society) website. It is translated from the original French.