Europe's nuclear trade body pushes for swift 'Brexatom' deal with UK

Europe's nuclear trade body has said it sees no reason why the UK cannot quickly sign a nuclear deal with the EU after Brexit which mirrors agreements the bloc already holds with the US and Japan.
Foratom, which is based in Brussels and represents nearly 800 nuclear firms across the EU, said it "absolutely" wanted to maintain close links with the British nuclear industry, even after its departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
The government's announcement that Britain will leave Euratom - a process dubbed "Brexatom" - is controversial, as it would force the country to establish its own nuclear safeguards regime and sign complex nuclear co-operation agreements with trading partners.
But Berta Picamal, a member of Foratom's executive office, said it was eager to set up a partnership that was "as close as possible" to the current regime as it would be mutually beneficial.
“It is in our interests to put in a regime as soon as possible that is as close as possible to the one we have," she told the Telegraph.
Europe's nuclear trade body pushes for swift 'Brexatom' deal with UK

An anti-Euratom protest in Germany, where nuclear power is a sensitive issue
"We are now analysing nuclear cooperation agreements that we have with third countries to see to which extent we can replicate what we have with the US or Japan with the UK."
She added: "We do not foresee this not being solved, it’s not an option. Theresa May said she would cooperate on continued research and development projects. It’s key."
Founded in 1957, the Euratom treaty oversees the international movement of nuclear materials, people and services through a framework which governs safety standards and research.
Though technically not part of the EU, Euratom is under the ultimate jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and requires the free movement of nuclear scientists between EU member states.
Both of these requirements are red lines for the British government, which has vowed to end free movement and direct jurisdiction of the EU over UK laws after Brexit.
Ms Picamal said it was crucial that any future deal guaranteed EU nuclear scientists access to European nuclear projects with facilities in the UK, such as the the Joint European Torus (JET) project in Culham, Oxfordshire.
We do not foresee this not being solved, it’s not an option
"If the UK leaves, we have to see how we can make sure that we have access this research centre, which cannot be moved," she said.
She also warned that the EU 27 "could not support" the UK retaining full Euratom membership after Brexit as it would undermine the treaty. 
"The UK will leave the Euratom community, and from the EU perspective we cannot contemplate the UK being an exception and that it would be kept in the Euratom treaty at all. We cannot support this because unfortunately the treaty would be weakened."
Europe's nuclear trade body pushes for swift 'Brexatom' deal with UK

A pro-remain protester holds up an EU flag with one of the stars symbolically cut out in front of the Houses of Parliament 
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the British Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), welcomed Foratom's remarks and suggested "associated status" with Euratom as a mutually beneficial solution. 
"The current Euratom treaty allows third country agreements, or associated status to Euratom programmes," he said.
"That would effectively enable the UK to be part of the Euratom framework as now, subject to negotiation and agreement.
"That is different from saying the UK would leave the EU but not Euratom."
Both the NIA and Foratom agreed that a transition period was essential to prevent disruption to businesses on both sides. 
Earlier this year, ex-culture minister Ed Vaizey and Labour MP Rachel Reeves said it was "common sense...for the UK to remain in Euratom" in a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph.
"Though little known, it plays a vital part in many areas of our everyday life. It means nuclear materials can be transported freely across EU borders, without which any expansion of nuclear power in the UK would not be possible," they wrote.
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