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« Nuclear Power Is Booming in Asia as US Industry Struggles | Main | As the industry struggles, is it 'time to recognize the nuclear show’s over'? »

Brexit Could Nuke Britain’s Nuclear Energy Industry


UK. lawmakers warned Tuesday the country’s nuclear energy industry could go belly-up because of Brexit, adding a new radioactive layer to London’s complex breakup with the European Union.

Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee warned that Britain’s nuclear industry will struggle to weather the Brexit storm in large part because it would have to leave Euratom. Euratom, the pan-European atomic energy regulator, sets Europe-wide energy regulations, conducts safety inspections, and coordinates buying nuclear fuel. Since Britain became a member in 1973, it’s built its nuclear energy industry around reliance on Euratom.

“The Government has failed to consider the potentially disastrous ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear industry,” MP Iain Wright, chair of the influential cross-party committee said Tuesday in light of a newly released report on the country’s nuclear industry. “The repercussions of failing to do so are huge. The continued operations of the UK nuclear industry are at risk,” he added.

The report shows that Britain will have a much more complicated and costly time untangling itself from the European Union’s nuclear energy regime than the government hopes. And any disruptions to Britain’s nuclear energy industry could have major economic and environmental blowback: Nuclear power generates some 20 percent of the country’s total electricity. Though with nearly half of the country’s nuclear power generation set to retire by 2025, any nuclear fuel supply disruptions could lead to blackouts.

Britain today operates 15 nuclear plants, with another one, dubbed Hinkley Point C, to come online in 2025 (though Brexit could disrupt that too, as EU and Euratom member France is helping build it).

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