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Australian uranium in China's hands too risky.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Environment & Animal Welfare Australian Democrats spokesperson for Defence & Veterans

Dated: 06 December 2006 Press Release Number: drsdtvsh Portfolio: Environment & Animal Welfare Related: Defence & Veterans

Australian Uranium in China's Hands Too Risky

Democrats Deputy Leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says the joint Coalition/Labor Treaties Committee report ticking off the export of Australian uranium to China failed to consider the global interest of stopping nuclear proliferation.

"The nuclear proliferation risks of selling uranium to China far outweigh any small economic benefit and should be opposed", Senator Bartlett said.

Senator Bartlett was the only member of the Committee to oppose enabling the export of uranium to China.

"As my minority report details, the spread of nuclear technology and know-how, the emergence of clandestine nuclear procurement networks and lack of political will has undermined nuclear non-proliferation.

"Australia has a responsibility to ensure its uranium does not end up in nuclear weapons selling to China undermines this.

"Australia's bilateral safeguards are inadequate because they rely on the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which the Agency's own director says is flawed.

"The Department admitted that Australia would have to rely ultimately on trust, yet Chinas poor track record on proliferation and accountability suggests that such an approach is nave.

"The undertaking that Australia's uranium is only meant for civil use and not for military use is cold comfort when much of the nuclear smuggling that goes on around the world is from civil nuclear programs.

"Australia will be powerless to stop its uranium from ending up in nuclear weapons."

"Given the increasing tensions around the world and appropriate concerns about weapons of mass destruction, increasing the risk of the proliferation on nuclear weapons is clearly not in the global interest.

"Australia should use its position as primary uranium provider to force countries, including the US, to take nuclear non-proliferation seriously, rather than add to the problem", concluded Senator Bartlett.

http://www.democrats.org.au/print/index.htm?url=/news/index.htm?press_id=5584 (1 of 2)8/12/2006 9:05:40 AM