Brexit threatens future of Britain's nuclear industry: MPs

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-02 19:32:45|Editor: liuxin
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LONDON, May 2 (Xinhua) -- MPs from the House of Commons warned Tuesday that the government has left Britain's nuclear industry at risk in the case of leaving the European Union (EU).

The all-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee said the government must act urgently to ensure the industry's continued operation after Brexit.

The MP who chairs the committee, Iain Wright, said Prime Minister Theresa May has made it politically unfeasible for Britain to remain long term in Euratom, Europe's atomic energy community, set up by the EU in 1957.

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

MPs say that in the longer term they are concerned that Britain will become a "rule taker", complying with, but unable to influence European rules and standards. The report cautions that Brexit must not distract the government from delivering essential climate change policies.

The committee has warned that any interval between Britain leaving the Euratom and entering into secure alternative arrangements would severely inhibit nuclear trade and research and threaten power supplies.

The report says: "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 May's objective of ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.

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

MPs on the committee said there are 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.

The report also highlights concerns that if British standards diverge too far from those in the EU, Britain could become a dumping ground for energy inefficient products.

Labour Party MP Wright, who chairs the 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."