Twenty Eighth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Electricity (Risk-Preparedness) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

21.EU Regulation 2019/94111 applies directly in Member States and requires them to identify all possible electricity crisis scenarios at national and regional levels and to prepare risk preparedness plans based on those scenarios, using common methods. The purpose of these draft Regulations is to ensure that the retained EU Regulation can operate effectively in a domestic context in Great Britain (GB) after the end of the Implementation Period (IP). The instrument does not deal with Northern Ireland as energy is largely a transferred matter and separate legislation is expected to be passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that, amongst other changes, the instrument removes provisions relating to the role of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity and obligations on GB to include regional and bilateral measures in risk preparedness plans and to share information with the EU on risk preparedness plans and electricity crisis scenarios. Given that the UK currently imports power from EU countries, we asked whether these dependencies and bilateral relationships would continue to be reflected in domestic risk preparedness planning after the end of the IP. The Department told us that:

“The Risk Preparedness Regulation, as amended by this SI, will form part of the wider electricity risk planning provisions within GB, which include provisions for all sources of GB energy supply. These include provision set out in documents, such as the National Emergency Plan for Downstream Gas and Electricity, licence conditions, codes (including system defence codes), as well as existing interconnector agreements. As part of future electricity risk planning, GB will continue to consider all sources of energy supply, reflecting the interconnected nature of the GB electricity system.

The nature of the future relationship with the EU is still the subject of negotiations. The UK is open to an agreement with the EU that would secure reciprocal energy market access through efficient cross border trade in electricity. The outcome of these negotiations may need to be reflected in future legislation. This includes any agreement made regarding arrangements governing interconnectors and wider electricity arrangements.”

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) (Relevant International Agreements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/992)

22.This instrument deals with the oversight of civil nuclear material following the UK’s decision to withdraw from Euratom on 31 January 2020. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) explains that the instrument adds the Withdrawal Agreement to the list of relevant international agreements in the Nuclear Safeguards (Fissionable Material and Relevant International Agreements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.12 This is to enable the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), as the UK’s civil nuclear regulator, to help ensure UK compliance with the provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement in relation to nuclear safeguards after the end of the Transition Period (TP). According to BEIS, the instrument allows Euratom to retain limited residual rights over EU-owned Special Fissile Material (EU SFM) (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) which will remain in the UK at the end of the TP. This includes Euratom’s right to repatriate any EU SFM; a requirement for all EU SFM contracts to be approved by the Euratom Supply Agency; a requirement for operators to notify Euratom when exporting EU SFM from the UK; and a requirement for an export licence from the competent authority in the relevant Member State before EU SFM is exported from the UK. BEIS explains that these rights are not new but already apply across the Euratom Community and, to date, have applied to UK owned material and EU27-owned material. After the TP, they will cease to apply to UK owned material but will continue to apply to EU SFM in the UK. BEIS emphasises that the impact on industry will be limited: Euratom has never used its repatriation rights, material owned by UK subsidiaries of an EU27 undertaking will not be covered by the provisions and the measures only apply to EU SFM which is left in the UK but not new material entering the UK after the end of the TP.

11 Regulation (EU) 2019/941 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector and repealing Directive 2005/89/EC.

12 Nuclear Safeguards (Fissionable Material and Relevant International Agreements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/195); see SLSC Sub-Committee B, 9th Report, Session 2017–19 (HL 253).

© Parliamentary copyright 2020