EU Negotiations Outcome – Civil Nuclear Sector
08 January 2021
Please find below some information compiled by BEIS about the outcome of the EU negotiations and the implications for the nuclear sector. You will also find attached a guidance sheet outlining the continued key actions for the nuclear sector.
On 24th December the UK achieved its objective of making a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU and a separate stand-alone Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Both of these agreements came into force on 1 January 2021. We wanted to outline to you some of the key outcomes that are relevant to the nuclear sector from these agreements.
UK-Euratom Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA)
BEIS have successfully achieved their objective of securing a stand-alone Nuclear Cooperation Agreement for future civil nuclear cooperation with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), further to our departure from Euratom. Reaching such an agreement with Euratom is important for the civil nuclear sector in both the UK and the EU: it ensures that there will be cooperation on nuclear safeguards (non-proliferation), nuclear safety and security. It provides a framework for trade in nuclear materials and technology, facilitates research and development, and enables exchange of information and expertise including on medical radioisotopes. The published draft from the EU side had attempted to include nuclear cooperation provisions inside a single partnership agreement, with complex and novel governance mechanisms which we argued were not appropriate for a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. BEIS are delighted to say that they succeeded in separating the NCA out from the wider deal, with no links to it, and its own governance procedures based on existing NCA precedent.
Link to the NCA itself, which consists of 25 Articles and one Annex, is here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.445.01.0005.01.ENG
Nuclear Research and Training
The UK has also reached a fair and balanced agreement with the EU and Euratom to associate to the next Euratom Research & Training (R&T) Programme 2021-2025. This agreement, which is part of the main Trade and Cooperation Agreement, includes UK participation in the ITER fusion collaboration through membership of Fusion for Energy. This will allow UK researchers and companies to continue to deliver vital work for ITER. There is also an enabling Article in the NCA on research and training collaboration which supports this (Article 12).
UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)
The UK and EU now have a free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas. It takes the UK completely out of the EU’s customs union, the EU’s Single Market and the EU’s entire legal order. A few key issues are below.
Tariffs: The Agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin.
Labour Mobility: The Agreement includes well established commitments on short-term business visitors; business visitors for establishment purposes; intra-corporate transferees; contractual service suppliers; and independent professionals. This includes the ability for UK short-term business visitors to travel to the EU for 90 days in any 180-day month period. All of this supports the government’s new points-based immigration policy.
Data Adequacy: The Agreement contains a provision (‘bridging mechanism’) which will allow personal data to continue to flow as it does now whilst EU adequacy decisions for the UK are adopted. (NB As a sensible precaution, during the bridging mechanism, businesses and other organisations should consider putting in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.)
Haulage: The Agreement ensures continued market access rights for UK and EU road haulage operators. Operators will continue to be able to move goods to, from and through each other’s territories with no permit requirements, and make additional movements within each other’s territories, with limits on the number of permitted movements.
If you have any questions on the NCA, Nuclear R&T or the wider TCA please contact the team using the following email address: CN.Businessreadiness@beis.gov.uk