Australia believed to be negotiating uranium sale to Russia
Melbourne, Oct 18: Australia is believed to be negotiating uranium sale to Russia, a lawmaker has claimed, while warning that the country has an “appalling” nuclear saftey record.
Greens Senator Christine Milne said the government was holding meetings this week with Russian officials about the sale. “What is clearly happening is that whilst the prime minister is talking up nuclear power in Australia, behind the scenes his real agenda is being enacted and that is increasing uranium mining and exports and uranium enrichment,” she added.
Despite Russia being part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Milne said the country had a shocking nuclear safety record. “Now we find the Russian officials are here organising an agreement with Australia to sell Australian uranium into Russia, in spite of Russia’s appalling safety record on uranium,” she told parliament and sought details of the alleged deal from the government.
It should be known how far advanced the negotiations are and, if it goes ahead, which countries have the potential to access Australian uranium, she said adding it was not a good time for Australia to be selling uranium overseas, a week after North Korea’s nuclear tests.
“If ever there was an example of the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons its the proof that the North Korean bomb came from plutonium.” But Australian Finance Minister Nick Minchin said “we only export to those countries who are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and those countries by which we have bilateral safeguard agreements.” “Australia has probably the strictest standards with respect to the export of uranium of any uranium exporting country in the world,” he told parliament.