Thursday, August 16, 2007

Australia to Sell Uranium to India

From Nuc Net:

Australia has decided to change its foreign policy to allow the export of uranium to India, but only subject to a number of “strict conditions”, prime minister John Howard has announced.

In a statement today Mr Howard said conditions for uranium exports to India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), include:

• Conclusion of a suitable safeguards agreement between India and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) covering all designated civil nuclear facilities;

• A consensus decision by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to
make an exception to its guidelines enabling international civil supply to India;

• Conclusion of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement between
India and the US;

• Satisfactory progress in implementing India’s commitment to place
designated civil nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards in perpetuity.

Mr Howard said Australian uranium supply to India would also be conditional on the conclusion of a bilateral Australia-India safeguards agreement providing assurances that Australian uranium would remain in peaceful uses at all times. He said there must be satisfactory verification arrangements to ensure that no Australian nuclear materials supplied to India would contribute to any military purpose.

Mr Howard said uranium exports would be of “significant economic and strategic advantage to both countries”. He said the uranium industry already generates 658 million Australian dollars (520 million US dollars, 387 million
euro) annually in exports and India will be a large and growing market.

“India’s requirement for reliable, clean sources of energy is growing rapidly,” Mr Howard said. “India will build 11 new reactors to triple her energy generation from nuclear power and is projected to need up to 12,000 tonnes of uranium per annum to 2032.”

India and the US recently finalised the text of a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation. The so-called “123 agreement” will allow full civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries, including nuclear energy research, civil nuclear cooperation covering nuclear reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle, and development of a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel.

The agreement must still be approved by the US Congress, while India needs to get clearances from the NSG and also conclude an agreement to place its civilian reactors under IAEA safeguards.
As you might recall, we did project that something like this might happen last December.

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