Impact of Brexit on Nuclear under the spotlight in Parliament

The Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial strategy held an oral evidence session on the impact of Brexit on the nuclear industry this week as part of a wider inquiry on the impact on the energy sector. The Committee heard from David Senior, Director of Assurance, Policy and International, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Dame Sue Ion, Chair, Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), and Rupert Cowen, Senior Commercial and Nuclear Energy Lawyer, Prospect Law. The witnesses began by outlining how the Euratom Treaty was vital for the nuclear industry both for commercial, research and regulatory cooperation. Pressed by Committee Chair Ian Wright (Labour) as to whether these activities could be continued under IAEA the witnesses agreed that some obligations on safety could take place but access to cooperation measures and trade would stop and ultimately nuclear power stations would have to shut down when the fuel runs out. Importantly Robert Cowan pointed out that legally the UK did not have to withdraw from Euratom at the same time as the EU so a transition period could be applied more easily. The witnesses were clear that a proper transition to ensure the smooth continuation of the industry was allowed to proceed.