Detailed guide: The nuclear sector and preparing for EU Exit

It’s important that your business plans for changes ahead of the UK leaving the EU. Please visit Prepare for EU Exit to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and to sign up for updates.

Importing and exporting

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border

  1. Get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number so you can continue to import or export goods and apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier for you.

  2. Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself.

  3. Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.

Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal.

Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.

Preparing to export nuclear materials - licencing requirements

When the UK leaves the EU, the overall framework for controls on nuclear-related items will not change.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will require an export licence to export Dual-Use nuclear-related items. Businesses should register to use the Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to export Dual-Use nuclear-related items.

An export licence will continue to be required for the export of nuclear-related items included on the ‘Trigger List’ to all destinations. Existing export licences issued in the UK for these nuclear-related items will remain valid.

Read the guidance on exporting nuclear-related items for details of the export licence arrangements that will apply and the steps your business will need to take.

Further information on how to apply for export licences is available from the Export Control Joint Unit.

Preparing to import nuclear materials from the EU - licencing requirements

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will need to apply for an import licence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to import relevant nuclear materials from the EU. This will be the same as the current process for importing from non-EU countries.

Businesses can apply now, to ensure licences are in place by 29 March 2019.

Read the guidance about importing relevant nuclear material from the EU and see the notice to importers on relevant nuclear materials (ODT, 108KB).

Preparing for changes to import tariffs

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would implement a temporary tariff regime. This would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation, and review on a permanent approach, is undertaken.

Under the temporary tariff regime the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free.

In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK government’s commitment to developing countries.

Check the temporary rates of customs duty on imports after EU Exit.

Regulation and standards

Preparing for new nuclear safeguards arrangements

When the UK leaves the EU, a new domestic nuclear safeguards regime will come into force. This will be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which already regulates nuclear safety and security in the UK.

The UK has passed new legislation so ONR can implement domestic safeguards. New international agreements have been signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to replace trilateral agreements between the IAEA, Euratom and the UK.

All operators in the UK civil nuclear sector will need to comply with the new domestic safeguards regime as it applies to them. Guidance will be published on the ONR website.

Authorising shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between the UK and EU

The current Euratom arrangements provide the framework for the movement of spent fuel and radioactive waste between countries.

The UK’s current arrangements for the reprocessing of spent fuel and treatment of radioactive waste will continue after the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom. There is no change to the UK government’s policy not to accept overseas origin radioactive waste for disposal in the UK except in specific circumstances.

However, when the UK leaves the EU, the process for authorising new shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between the UK and EU countries will change.

The Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 set out the new arrangements that will apply for the authorisation of shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between EU countries and the UK.

Read the guidance on shipping radioactive waste and spent fuel after the UK leaves the EU.

Preparing for changes to existing trade agreements

Check the way you currently trade with non-EU countries. When the UK leaves the EU the way you access existing favourable arrangements with these countries may change. Changes may be different for each country.

Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU.

Importing or using chemicals

If you use or import chemicals then you will need to check whether you have new obligations under UK REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation).

For example, if you currently purchase a chemical substance directly from an EU/EEA supplier, you must make sure any substances you purchase are covered by a valid UK REACH registration by someone within your supply chain. Otherwise, in order to remain compliant you will need to register as an ‘importer’. To do so, you must:

  • open an account on REACH IT once it is established and provide initial information on your registration within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU
  • provide full technical information on your registration within 2 years of the UK leaving the EU.

Read the guidance on regulating chemicals if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and the chemical regulation guidance from HSE.

Ensure you can continue to manufacture and export chemical products

There may also be new actions you need to take if you manufacture or export chemicals. Further information is provided on the HSE website.

Your employees

Employing EU workers

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU citizens who are resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status, which will mean they can continue to live, work and study in the UK.

The scheme will be open to applications from 30 March 2019 and EU workers must apply by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can use the EU Settlement Scheme guidance for employers to give further information to your employees.

Applying for skilled-work or unskilled-work visas

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch.

For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

Travelling to the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have 6 months remaining validity on their passport, not including any extra months added to a 10 year passport if it was renewed early.

Read guidance about travelling to the EU with a UK passport if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and check your passport to see if you need to renew earlier than planned.

Trade associations

Nuclear Industry Association