Guide

International trade regulations in the Energy and power sector

Trading in nuclear energy

If you handle nuclear energy or dual-use products, you'll have to comply with strict regulations.

Nuclear materials include: Uranium Ore concentrates, Plutonium, Uranium 233, Uranium enriched in the isotopes 233 or 235, natural Uranium and mixtures, compounds and alloys containing any of the foregoing, including spent or irradiated nuclear reactor fuel elements (cartridges).

Products that have a civil and military application are defined as 'dual-use'. The Community General Export Authorisation governs some of these products to certain countries.

Export restrictions

If you intend to export certain types of sensitive nuclear equipment, some of these may appear on what is called the 'trigger list'. The Export Control Organisation (ECO) assesses these applications and sets out the important factors to bear in mind when you apply for a licence.

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Import restrictions

Nuclear materials may not be imported under the Open General Import Licence unless consigned from a member state of the European Community (EC). Imports of such materials from third countries will therefore require individual import licences from the Health & Safety Executive's (HSE's) Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS).

See GOV.UK guidance on import controls.

Health, safety and environment

Health and safety is of great importance when you're handling any kind of nuclear-related products. In the UK, nuclear safety issues are the responsibility of the Health & Safety Executive. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is part of the HSE and regulates nuclear safety.

The HSE also governs the import of certain carcinogenic substances - including goat hair and other types of animal hair which may, for example, carry anthrax - by prohibiting or placing conditions on import from certain countries.

If you keep, use, accumulate and/or dispose of radioactive substances, you are likely to need an environmental permit. See managing radioactive substances.

Special requirements also apply to the transportation of nuclear materials.

See environmental permits and licences - an overview.