Brexit May Have Unintended Consequences for U.K. Power Supply

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union’s atomic regulator after Brexit will put the country’s nuclear industry at risk and may threaten power supplies, a cross-party group of lawmakers said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain would leave the European Atomic Community as part of its departure from the EU. The body’s main function is to safeguard nuclear fuel, making sure it isn’t diverted to make weapons. Nuclear fuel suppliers and power plants also need certification from Euratom to buy material on the open market. While it will lose access to those services, the government said it wants to maintain close nuclear cooperation with the EU.

But the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee in Parliament said any delay between leaving Euratom and adopting alternative arrangements will hurt nuclear trade and research and could even hurt power supplies. It called for Britain’s departure from the body to be delayed to allow more time for these arrangements to be put in place.

“The government has failed to consider the potentially severe ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear industry,” said Iain Wright, the committee’s head. “Ministers must act as urgently as possible. The repercussions of failing to do so are huge. The continued operations of the U.K. nuclear industry are at risk.”

The committee also called for the government to maintain access to the bloc’s internal energy market and remain a member of the emissions trading system until 2020 at least.