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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 108


Senator MASON —My question is addressed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. Is it a fact that, as reported in the Australian Financial Review of 4 January, 300 tonnes of uranium bought from Queensland Mines Ltd because it was not to be exported to France will be stored by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission? Will this material be stored at Lucas Heights? What extra security, staffing and safety procedures are planned? Will any of the uranium be used at the Lucas Heights reactor or for any other purposes by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission? Has there been any consultation with municipal and community leaders in the Sutherland area over this matter in the event that the uranium will indeed be stored at Lucas Heights?


Senator GARETH EVANS —It is not the case that the uranium in question will be stored at Lucas Heights. The misunderstanding has no doubt arisen because the Australian Financial Review article to which the honourable senator referred speaks of delivery of uranium to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. But I can assure him that 'delivery' is there being used in its legal sense rather than in the physical geographical locational sense.

The uranium which the Commonwealth has undertaken to purchase from Queensland Mines Ltd will in fact be stored in drums at QML's Nabarlek mine on behalf of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. It will be subject to the same physical protection arrangements as those applying to QML's own production. Those arrangements were, of course, devised in consultation with the Australian Safeguards Office. I can add that the ASO from time to time checks physical protection arrangements at Australian mines and will certainly make periodic checks on material purchased by the Commonwealth on its visits to Nabarlek.