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UK consults on post-Brexit nuclear safeguards regime

More details of the domestic nuclear safeguards regime which will operate once the UK leaves the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) have been published by the government.12 Jul 2018

It is consulting on draft Nuclear Safeguards Regulations, which will be made using the government's powers under the Energy Act 2013 and the Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018. The new regime will be regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which already monitors safeguards performance in the UK.

Euratom is the international organisation that governs the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the EU. The UK aims to secure a close association with Euratom once the UK leaves the EU, as part of its wider international commitments. It recently signed two new safeguarding agreements, a Voluntary Offer Agreement and Additional Protocol, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and is putting in place arrangements for continued nuclear cooperation with trading partners including the US.

"The Nuclear Safeguards Act is one of the first pieces of legislation to go through parliament in preparation for EU exit, and is yet another major milestone in our work to prepare the civil nuclear industry for Euratom exit, ensuring continuity from day one," said business and industry minister Richard Harrington.

"We are setting out proposals for the detail of our own UK framework for safeguards, demonstrating our readiness for EU exit," he said.

The government's intention is to establish a nuclear safeguarding regime that operates in a similar way to existing arrangements, but incorporating the necessary changes to ensure that they are appropriate for the domestic, legislative and operational landscape in which they operate. The draft regulations set out how the UK intends to comply with the various reporting and verification procedures required by its international commitments.

The consultation comes shortly after the UK government published details of the £200 million nuclear sector deal which forms part of its industrial strategy. The package was developed together with the Nuclear Industry Council; and sets out an ambition to deliver up to £2 billion in domestic and international contract wins by 2030, cost savings on new-build and decommissioning, and a more diverse workforce.

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