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Euratom Exit Strategy

Volume 667: debated on Tuesday 5 November 2019

The Government have further advanced their preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom and the European Union.

As made clear in previous statements on the topic, the UK has concluded all replacement international agreements required to ensure continuity for civil nuclear trade for when Euratom arrangements no longer apply to the UK and confirmed the operability of an existing bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement (NCA) with Japan.

Further to this, the UK and the Government of Japan held formal negotiations on the text of an amending protocol to the existing bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement (NCA) on 4 June. This amending protocol is not essential for the operability of the NCA or for our continued trade and co-operation with Japan but completes the formal legal process to amend the NCA on a permanent basis. Negotiations on the amending protocol continue.

Implementation guidelines for nuclear operators were published on 27 June outlining future reporting requirements on operators related to nuclear co-operation agreements. These requirements will allow the UK to comply with its NCAs with Australia, Canada, Japan and the US, following withdrawal from Euratom.

The UK also continued to make progress in implementing its new domestic safeguards regime. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) remains in a state of readiness to deliver a state system of accounting for and control of nuclear material (SSAC) that enables the UK to meet its international safeguards obligations when Euratom arrangements no longer apply.

The former Secretary of State prescribed the forms required by UK industry to notify UK regulators of the import of sealed radioactive sources from EU member states as well as the forms required by UK industry and UK regulators to apply for, authorise, and notify trans-frontier shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The use of these forms will only be required from exit day in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. A statement notifying Parliament of the use of the sub-delegated powers exercised to create these forms can be found in the report accompanying this statement.

Overall the Government have continued to work closely with industry to address the issues that may affect the civil nuclear sector in any exit scenario and remains committed to regular engagement with industry, civil society, academia, trade unions, and other interested stakeholders.

Today I will be depositing a report in the Libraries of both Houses that sets out further details on the overall progress on the Government’s implementation of its Euratom exit strategy, including domestic operational readiness, legislation and international agreements. The report covers the three-month reporting period from 26 March to 26 June 2019 and is the fourth and final statutory report under section 3(4) of the Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018.