Uranium sales to Russia too risky, finds Government report

CANBERRA, 18 SEPTEMBER 2008: The Australian Government has received a Committee report recommending against ratifying a treaty which would have allowed uranium sales to Russia to proceed. 

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has recommended that stringent conditions be met before the treaty is ratified. MAPW has welcomed this outcome (see separate story and media release).

The report's recommendations are as follows:

List of recommendations regarding Agreement with the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes

Recommendation 1
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government not proceed with ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes until:
(a) Russia’s reform process to clearly separate its civilian nuclear and military nuclear facilities is completed and independently verified;
(b) IAEAi inspections are implemented for Russian facilities that will handle Australian Obligated Nuclear Materials;
(c) The Government is satisfied that the Russian Federation is complying with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPTi) noting that this treaty is scheduled for review in 2010;
(d) The Government is satisfied that Russia will not subsequently abandon this treaty or other nuclear treaties;
(e) Further consideration is given to the potential ramifications for this agreement of recent political events affecting Russia;
(f) Further consideration is given to Article IX of the Agreements, ‘State Secrets’, and the Government is confident that this article will not undermine the intent of this agreement;
(g) Further consideration is given to the justification for secrecy of ‘Material Unaccounted For’; and
(h) The Australian Government discusses with the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada and Japan, whether the problems of the past in relation to Russian nuclear material being stolen, have now been addressed satisfactorily.

Recommendation 2
The Committee reiterates its earlier recommendation, made in Report 81:
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government lobbies the IAEAi and the five declared nuclear weapons states under the NPTi to make the safeguarding of all conversion facilities mandatory.

Recommendation 3
The Committee recommends that Australian efforts to strengthen the resourcing of the IAEAi be continued.