Australia nears uranium deal with Russia

17 August 2007

[AAP, AFX, 17 August] Russia and Australia could reportedly sign a bilateral agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy during President Vladimir Putin's visit to Australia in early September to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney. Under the agreement, Australia would export uranium to Russia for use in its civil nuclear power reactors. A 1990 agreement permits Australian uranium to be processed in Russia in the interest of third countries only. Alexander Downer, Australian foreign affairs minister, told reporters, "We should support civil nuclear power programs in responsible countries with responsible and appropriate protections." He added, "I don't think Russia would want to become a rogue state and break international law. It would lead to a collapse in their relations with Australia and probably with an awful lot more countries. I don't think there is any danger of that." Downer stated that if a deal was reached, Australian uranium would start to be used in Russian reactors "probably not by the end of the year but into next year." Downer announced in April that Australia and Russia had begun negotiations into expanding the existing 1990 agreement. The announcement of an impending deal with Russia follows a similar in-principle agreement with India, although unlike Russia, India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Further information

WNA's Australia's Uranium and Who Buys It information paper
Nuclear Power in Russia information paper

WNN: Australia wants trade with India