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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6726

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3:05 PM) —Senator Nettle asked me a question without notice on 18 November, regarding shipments of spent nuclear fuel from Lucas Heights to France for reprocessing. I undertook to provide additional information. I seek leave to incorporate the response in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The response read as follows—

The Minister for Science has provided the following additional information in relation to the question asked by Senator Nettle:

Contrary to Senator Nettle's information, there will be no shipment of spent fuel from ANSTO in 2002. Pursuant to ANSTO's reprocessing contract with COGEMA, and in accordance with Government policy, there will be future shipments of spent fuel to France.

In accordance with Australia's obligations under international conventions on the security of nuclear materials, shipment details are not published in advance.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the Australian Maritime Safety Agency have the prime regulatory responsibility for the shipments. Other Commonwealth and State agencies are involved, as appropriate, including the NSW Police.

Planning of shipments is undertaken in the light of current assessments of the security situation, based on advice from national security authorities and the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office.