Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Date released
31 October 2018
Request number
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

Has the Office for Nuclear Regulation produced either of the following regarding the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Euratom:

If so, please could you provide the relevant documents? I would prefer these in an electronic format, such as PDF, if possible.

Information released

We can confirm that the ONR does not hold information of the description in your request.

The ONR is the UK’s independent nuclear regulatory authority and, as such, does not have responsibility for ‘no deal’ EU Exit planning or for planning for a future relationship with the EU. The Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has overall responsibility for the UK’s civil nuclear regulatory framework and policies and as such has the responsibility to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’. These include civil nuclear safety and security, new-build and decommissioning programmes, emergency planning and response, nuclear material safeguards and regulation of the transport of radioactive material.

Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) are legally binding bilateral agreements between two States or international bodies which set out a common intention and framework for cooperation in the civil nuclear sector.

The ONR’s regulatory work and operations would not be impacted should an NCA not be finalised.   

To be of assistance, we have set out some wider information on the ONR’s work in exiting Euratom below that may be helpful background.

The UK’s current international safeguards obligations are fulfilled through its membership of Euratom.  As these arrangements will cease following the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, nuclear safeguards arrangements are the primary area of focus for the ONR. As a result, the ONR has been undertaking a significant programme of work relating to nuclear safeguards and a State System of Accountancy for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC).

The Nuclear Safeguards Act, under which draft Nuclear Safeguards Regulations will operate, has completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on the 26 June 2018.  The ONR has provided subject matter expertise and support to BEIS in the drafting of these Regulations. 

The ONR is focussed on implementing a UK SSAC by 29 March 2019. This work is not contingent on whether an agreement with the European Union or Euratom is reached so the UK can comply with its international nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation obligations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on exit day.

Finally, there is information from the government relevant to your request already in the public domain, in the technical notices on ‘Civil nuclear regulation if there’s no Brexit deal’ and ‘Nuclear research if there’s no Brexit deal’. You may also find the factsheet on ‘Nuclear Cooperation Agreements’ and references to ‘Civil nuclear’ in the government’s White Paper on ‘The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union’ helpful.

Exemption applied


PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable