UK peers reject Euratom exit plan

21 March 2018

The UK government has been defeated twice in the House of Lords over its plans for nuclear cooperation after its leaves the European Union next year, the BBC has reported. They also backed a plan requiring the UK to report to Parliament regularly on its future arrangements with Euratom.

The government has said it wants to establish a new domestic nuclear regime as well as negotiate a nuclear agreement with the EU once the UK leaves on 29 March 2019. Peers in the upper house of parliament voted by 265 to 194 today to insist the UK should not withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), until a replacement deal is in place.

Members of Parliament are likely to try and overturn the changes to the Nuclear Safeguards Bill when it returns to the lower chamber, the House of Commons, according to the BBC.

The government has always said triggering of the formal two-year proceedings for quitting the EU in March 2017 had also started the process of leaving Euratom.

Lord (John) Hutton, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, said remaining in Euratom should be a "back-up" option in case direct arrangements with individual counties, including the USA, cannot be negotiated in time.

"I don't think any of us should take a gamble or a risk with the energy security of our country," he was quoted as saying.

The government, which does not have a majority in the House of Lords, was defeated after cross-benchers joined forces with Labour and Liberal Democrat peers to insist on specific assurances over research and development collaboration and the movement of qualifying nuclear material.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News