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Up & Atom

As we reported in 2019, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, which occurred on January 31, 2020, included the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Exports of nuclear materials, goods, and services from the United States to each of the 27 member countries of Euratom are governed under the United States–Euratom Agreement and the Euratom Cooperation Act of 1958.

The United Kingdom will no longer be covered under the US-Euratom Agreement once it exits Euratom. However, under the agreed-upon terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from Euratom, the United Kingdom will remain covered under the US-Euratom Agreement through December 31, 2020, subject to an extension.

In response to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from Euratom, the United States and United Kingdom negotiated a bilateral agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy pursuant to Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (123 Agreement). The 123 Agreement was submitted to Congress in May 2018 for a statutory 90-day review period. The 123 Agreement did not automatically trigger at the completion of the 90-day review period, but it can be ratified at any time.

We continue to expect that the 123 Agreement will enter into force through a ministerial exchange of diplomatic notes. However, it is unlikely that the 123 Agreement will be ratified until it is necessary, i.e., after December 31, 2020, or at a later date if the terms of United Kingdom’s withdrawal from Euratom are extended. Nevertheless, whether governed by the US-Euratom Agreement or the 123 Agreement, we do not anticipate any disruption in nuclear trade between the United States and United Kingdom.