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Monday, 30 May 1994
Page: 903

(Question No. 1319)

Senator Coulter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 14 April 1994:

  With reference to Article V of the Regional Co-operative Agreement (RCA) for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology, 1987, which contains the statement that `each Participating Government, subject to its domestic laws and regulations, shall: (i) make available the necessary scientific and technical facilities and personnel for the implementation of the co-operative project':

  (1) What are the `necessary scientific and technical facilities'.

  (2) Would Australia be able to meet its obligations under Article V of the RCA if it no longer had an operational research reactor.

  (3) Would a state of the art accelerator facility alone allow Australia to meet its obligations under Article V.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) The "necessary scientific and technical facilities" are those facilities that a participating country has indicated as being useful in the execution and implementation of a specific co-operative project under the RCA Agreement.

  (2) Australia would be less able to meet its obligations under the RCA if it did not possess an

operational research reactor because it would be unable to maintain the expertise and capabilities to participate in many projects. Its ability to support the safe and responsible application of nuclear science and technology would be diminished.

  (3) Not necessarily. The existence of a state of the art accelerator facility would allow Australia to fulfil its obligations under Article V only if there were RCA projects designed around its use. There are currently several state of the art accelerator facilities in Australia. None of these is currently involved in RCA projects.