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Radioactive Materials

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 193428, tabled on 20 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Article 83, paragraphs (1) and (2) of the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Agency, dated 14 November 2018, who will own fissile materials stored at UK nuclear facilities after the UK withdraws from that agency.

Answered on

28 November 2018

Under the current European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom”) Treaty arrangements, special fissile material is collectively owned by the Euratom Community, but the operator with the legal title to the material has an “unlimited right of use and consumption” over it, subject to their complying with the obligations imposed on them by the Treaty. This form of supranational, or sovereign, ownership underpins the regulation of special fissile materials by the Euratom Community in accordance with the Euratom Treaty.

The UK and EU have agreed that when the UK leaves the EU, Euratom’s supranational ownership arrangements will cease to apply in the UK. Article 83(1) removes Euratom’s ‘sovereign’ ownership and rights in relation to material held in the UK at the end of the implementation period. As Euratom ownership will cease as a result of 83(1), Article 83(2) clarifies that those operators that currently hold title to the material will be the sole owners of it, with all the rights and obligations that apply to it. These provisions will not have any practical impact on the day to day management and use of the material.