MAPW condemns proposed uranium sales to Russia

The Medical Association for Prevention of War today condemned the government proposal to sell uranium to Russia, in contravention of recommendations from its own parliamentary inquiry.

The government, responding to the 2008 Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry report, claims that its agreement with Russia would ensure that any uranium supplied could only be used for peaceful purposes.

MAPW President DR Bill Williams said in a media release:

“As MAPW told the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, the current safeguards cannot guarantee that Australian uranium would not end up in Russian nuclear weapons. The parliamentary inquiry recommended that Australia does not proceed with uranium sales to Russia until far more stringent measures are in place to separate Russia’s civilian and military facilities. “

“The decision fails to take seriously both the inadequacy of current safeguards as they relate to Russia, and Australia’s responsibilities as a uranium exporter.”

“It is important to remember that the five nuclear weapons states which are party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPTi), including Russia, are under much less scrutiny than states that do not yet have nuclear weapons. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEAi, has confirmed that Russia’s military sites are off limits for inspection” said Dr Williams.

“MAPW believes that Australia should not sell uranium to any nuclear weapons states, including Russia. All of the 5 nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPTi are in breach of the treaty by their refusal to get rid of their nuclear weapons. By selling uranium to Russia, Australia would effectively be undermining the NPTi, which has a crucial 5-yearly review conference in May” Dr Williams concluded.

Read MAPW's original submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry