LONDON May 2 Britain's plan to leave the
European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) when it exits the
European Union will severely hinder nuclear trade and research,
and threaten power supplies, a UK parliamentary committee said
in a report on Tuesday.
The government says Britain must leave Euratom as part of
its goal to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of
Justice when the country leaves the EU.
Euratom is the EU's framework for nuclear energy safety and
development, establishing a European market for goods and
services and compliance with international safeguards to control
the use of uranium and plutonium.
Although it is legally separate from the EU, it has the same
members and is governed by EU institutions.
In a report, the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial
Strategy Committee said the gap between Britain leaving Euratom
and setting up alternative arrangements would hamper nuclear
trade, research and nuclear energy supplies.
"The impact of Brexit on Euratom has not been thought
through. The government has failed to consider the potentially
severe ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear
industry," said Iain Wright, chair of the committee and a
lawmaker from the main opposition Labour party.
Experts have said that if Britain leaves Euratom, there is a
risk of new-build projects being delayed or put on hold while
new stand-alone nuclear cooperation treaties are negotiated with
countries in the EU and outside it.
Britain plans to build new nuclear reactors as it faces an
electricity supply gap in the coming decade, the biggest of
which is the $24 billion Hinkley Point C project under
construction by French utility EDF.
Britain has several international nuclear cooperation
agreements with countries outside the EU that are reliant on
Euratom safeguards being in place.
New trading arrangements are also needed for nuclear fuel
and parts to enable Britain's current nuclear fleet, which meets
around 16 percent of UK electricity demand, to keep running.
Britain's stock of plutonium at its nuclear site in
Sellafield is the largest in the world and is overseen by
"We share the concern of the nuclear industry that new
arrangements for regulating nuclear trade and activity will take
longer than two years to set up," the report said, referring to
the planned timetable for Brexit negotiations.
"We therefore recommend that the government seeks to delay
exit from Euratom, if necessary, to be certain that new
arrangements can be in place on our departure from the EU," it
The committee also advised maintaining access to the EU
internal energy market and membership of the Emissions Trading
System until at least 2020 on the condition of future reforms.