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Tuesday, 23 August 1994
Page: 155

(Question No. 1470)

Senator Coulter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 20 June 1994:

  With reference to the nuclear co-operation agreement signed by the Republic of Korea (ROK) with the United Kingdom (UK) in 1991 which included assistance in the area of nuclear waste management:

  (1) Does the nuclear waste in question contain amounts of Australian Obligated Nuclear Material; if so, how much.

  (2) Did the Government of the ROK give any prior notification of the agreement to the Australian Government, as is required under Article VIII of the 1970 Agreement Between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and the Transfer of Nuclear Material; is so, what information was provided to the Australian Government; if not, what steps is the Australian Government taking to ensure notification is given by the Government of the ROK.

  (3) Does the agreement signed between the Governments of the UK and the ROK allow for the reprocessing or storage of the ROK spent fuel in the UK.

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

  (1) There is no Australian Obligated Nuclear Material (AONM) contained in nuclear waste in the Republic of Korea.

  (2) There is no requirement under Article VIII of the Australia-ROK Nuclear Co-operation Agreement, (signed in 1979, I note, not 1970 as Senator Coulter states) for either Party to that agreement to give prior notification of the conclusion of other agreements.

  (3) The UK-ROK agreement for Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy does not explicitly provide for reprocessing or storage of ROK spent fuel in the UK, but this may be possible if the Parties so wished subject to additional specific arrangements. In the case of AONM, the prior consent rights established in Article VIII of the Australia-ROK Agreement requires the Republic of Korea to obtain Australia's prior consent before any such material could be transferred to another country, including the U.K, or reprocessed.