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MPs: Brexit threatens future of Britain's nuclear industry

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

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The report recommends maintaining access to the Internal Energy Market and retaining membership of the Emissions Trading System until 2020 at least.

Longer term, MPs are concerned that the UK will become a 'rule taker', complying with but unable to influence European rules and standards. The report cautions that Brexit must not distract Government from delivering essential climate change policies.

The Committee warns that any interval between the UK leaving the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and entering into secure alternative arrangements would severely inhibit nuclear trade and research and threaten power supplies.

The Government argues that the UK must leave Euratom as a result of the triggering of Article 50, but the report states that legal opinion is divided.

The Committee says 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.

Ministers must end the uncertainty and resolve the matter by securing alternative arrangements as urgently as possible, the report adds.

The Committee notes strong concerns in the sector that new arrangements will take longer than two years to set up and recommends delaying departure from Euratom to give the industry more time to establish alternative arrangements.

If this is not possible, the Government should seek transitional arrangements, which may need to be longer than the three years proposed by the European parliament.

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