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July, 14 2017

'Exit from Euratom treaty & its Environmental Implications'

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Posted by Joe Newbigin at 11:03
UKELA have today published the first in a series of reports looking at Brexit and Environmental Law.

Brexit and Environmental law: Exit from the Euratom treaty and its Environmental Implications, focuses on questions of safety, the protection of human health and the environment arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty. It has been written by Stephen Tromans QC, barrister and former head of 39 Essex Chambers, and Paul Bowden, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Screenshot 2017-07-14 13.21.47

Remarking on the release of the report Andrew Bryce, co-chair of the Task Force said:

“This is an important report which focuses on the environmental implications of leaving Euratom. It's an issue which has received little public attention to date compared to nuclear safeguards and security, and one that UKELA wishes to highlight as part of its work on Brexit. We are immensely grateful to the authors for bringing their considerable experience and expertise in nuclear law to the subject.”

The report emphasises that withdrawal from the EU and withdrawal from Euratom are - as legal and constitutional processes - separate exercises, ‎however they may be conducted practically and politically. In view of the particular complexities and challenges of withdrawing from Euratom, and of the UK maintaining a demonstrable commitment to safety in the nuclear field, ‘Brexatom’ requires its own Agreement and its own timetable.

The report examines the continued operation of a number of specific legislative measures, and the role each of these measures has on the current regime of nuclear safety, including:

  • Safety of Nuclear Installations;
  • Basic Safety Standards and related measures such as on the control of high-activity sealed sources;
  • Responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste; and
  • Movement of radioactive substances.
It emphasises that the UK must find clear agreements with Euratom and its members states for continued regulatory equivalence and full participation in key safety-related bodies, such as ENSREG (the European Nuclear Safety Regulators' Group) and ECURIE (European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange).

It states that the review and re-alignment of existing Nuclear Co-operation Agreements (NCAs) embracing Nuclear Safety with states outside Euratom (not only with countries such as the US, Japan and Canada, but those with developing civil nuclear capability) is an urgent priority, in order to maintain the UK's international contribution to this field, as well as to demonstrate continued leadership. Establishing principles, or at least parameters, on equivalence in a future Euratom withdrawal agreement is, alongside replacing as many as possible of the current Article 101 NCA’s, perhaps the greatest priority for the imminent “Brexatom” negotiating process.

The report is available to download here.

The press release we sent out earlier today can be found here.

More information on UKELA’s work on Brexit can be found here


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Welcome to the UKELA Brexit Task Force blog where we consider the impact of Brexit on environmental law, practice and enforcement in the UK
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