MPs urge action over Brexit risk to nuclear industry

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has warned that the government has left the UK nuclear industry at risk and must act urgently to ensure its continued operation post-Brexit.

MPs voiced concern that the UK will become a 'rule taker', complying with but unable to influence European rules and standards and cautioned that Brexit must not distract the government from delivering essential climate change policies.

The government has argued that the UK must leave Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) as a result of the triggering of Article 50, but the report stated that legal opinion is divided. The Committee said withdrawal from Euratom is an unfortunate, and perhaps unforeseen, consequence of Prime Minister's objective of ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

However, it called on ministers to end the uncertainty and resolve the matter by securing alternative arrangements as urgently as possible.

Iain Wright MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: “The impact of Brexit on Euratom has not been thought through. The government has failed to consider the potentially disastrous ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear industry. Ministers must act as urgently as possible. The repercussions of failing to do so are huge. The continued operations of the UK nuclear industry are at risk.

“The Prime Minister has made it politically unfeasible to remain in Euratom long term. The government now has a responsibility to end the uncertainty hanging over the industry and ensure robust and stable arrangements to protect trade, boost research and development, and ensure safeguarding of the highest level.”

Wright added: “In the short term, the government should seek to avoid disruption the energy sector and domestic climate change agenda. Government needs to provide as much clarity and stability as possible to support investment and avoid damaging UK competitiveness and adversely affecting consumers. In the long term, the UK must maintain standards and seek to retain our influence."


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