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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 101

(Question No. 576)


Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 8 December 1983:

(1) What export contracts exist for Australian uranium as at 1 December 1983, and:

(a) who is the supplier;

(b) who is the purchaser;

(c) what quantity was involved;

(d) what price was involved; and

(e) what was the expected or contracted annual export quantity.

(2) What are the conditions and restrictions applying to conversion and enrichment of Australian uranium for contracts in force as at 1 December 1983, with safeguards conditions being those in force prior to the current inquiry by the Australian Science and Technology Council.

(3) What contracts include provision for conversion and enrichment.

(4) What quantity of Australian uranium is involved.

(5) Where will that conversion and enrichment take place.


Senator Walsh —The Minister for Trade has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a), (b) and (c) Australian uranium export contracts approved by the present or previous Governments and under which deliveries were outstanding at 1 December 1983 are as follows:

Quantity Seller

Buyer

(s.t. U308)

Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd (*) RTZ Mineral Services Limited (for supply to Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc.) (Japan)

1,100 Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd (*) RTZ Mineral Services Limited (for supply to Chugoku Electric Power Co. Inc.) (Japan)

1,000 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. (Japan)

2,000 Queensland Mines Limited Shikoku Electric Power Co. Inc. (Japan)

2,230 Queensland Mines Limited Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. (Japan)

1,000 Peko-Wallsend Operations Ltd and Electrolytic Zinc Co. Australasia Limited

Korea Electric Co. (R.O. Korea)

2,500 Queensland Mines Limited Teollisuuden Voima Oy (Finland)

900 Peko-Wallsend Operations Ltd and Electrolytic Zinc Co. Australasia Limited

Indiana and Michigan Electric Co. (U.S.A.)

2,250 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Electrizitaetswerk AG (F.R. Germany)

9,094 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Saarberg-Interplan Uran GmbH (F.R. Germany)

5,456 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Urangesellschaft GmbH (F.R. Germany)

5,820 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Japan Australia Uranium Resources Development Co. Ltd (Japan)

13,413 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Oskarshamnsverkets Kraftgrupp A.B. ( Sweden)

3,150 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Synatom Societe Anonyme (Belgium)

1,575 Queensland Mines Limited Electricite de France (France)

2,600 Queensland Mines Limited Shikoku Electric Power Co. Inc. (Japan)

1,390 Queensland Mines Limited Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. (Japan)

400 Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Wisconsin Electric Power Co. (U.S.A.)

(**) Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Virginia Electric and Power Co. (U.S.A. )

(**)

Notes-

(*) Prior to completion of production at Mary Kathleen in October 1982, MKU produced sufficient yellowcake to meet all outstanding commitments. Product for outstanding deliveries is currently stored at conversion plants.

(**) For commercial reasons the parties to these contracts have decided not to publish full details regarding contract tonnages. ERA has, however, announced that the Wisconsin contract provides for the sale of a minimum 1100 st U308.

(1) (d) and (e) Contractural information relating to pricing and annual delivery details has been provided to the Government on a commercial-in- confidence basis and is not available for publication.

(2) The conditions and restrictions governing the conversion and enrichment of Australian uranium are specified in the bilateral nuclear cooperation and safeguards agreements that Australia has concluded with partner countries and EURATOM. At any particular time, the conditions and restrictions relevant for uranium exported under any contract are those specified in the relevant bilateral agreements in force at that time.

Australia's preparedness in the case of non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to conclude such agreements only with those adhering to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) functions as a significant minimum condition in its own right. There is the additional requirement for a bilateral agreement with Australia. These agreements specify that Australian-origin nuclear material (AONM) subject to any given agreement (whether with a nuclear weapon state, or with an NNWS) is covered by a stringent regime of international safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify solely peaceful usage. Strict conditions for applying physical security provisions at agreed international levels to the AONM are also specified in the agreements.

Within this framework:

(A) Australian-origin uranium or derived material may be converted and/or low- enriched (up to 20 percent U 235) in those countries with which Australia has a nuclear cooperation or safeguards agreement in place and operative.

(B) Under a number of Australia's bilateral agreements, specific provisions have been included to allow our treaty partners to have conversion and/or low- enrichment of AONM carried out in a specified third country not party to a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement with Australia, subject to certain additional requirements being met, including the granting of prior consent by Australia to any such proposal. The additional requirements specify amongst other things that the partner concerned make acceptable arrangements for the return to itself or to another country with which Australia has a nuclear safeguards agreement of a quantity of nuclear material equivalent to all AONM shipped into the specified third country. Finnish and Swedish utilities have made use of such provisions in Australia's agreements with Finland and Sweden to have Australia's uranium enriched in the USSR.

(C) Australian supplied uranium is not permitted to be enriched beyond 20 percent U 235 in any country without prior consent by Australia. To date no country has sought such consent.

(3), (4) and (5) No Australian uranium sales contracts provide for conversion and/or enrichment services. In all cases the contractual arrangements provide for delivery in the form of uranium concentrates. Subject to the conditions and requirements imposed by Australia's bilateral safeguards agreements, AONM may be processed at any of the approved facilities in bilateral partner countries providing conversion and/or enrichment services. Such services are provided on a commercial basis by, in the case of conversion, Allied Chemical Corp. (USA), British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (UK), Comurhex (France), Eldorado Nuclear Ltd (Canada) , and Kerr McGee Nuclear Corp. (USA), and, in the case of enrichment, by the Department of Energy (USA), Eurodif (France), and Urenco (Netherlands and UK). Additionally, ANOM may be enriched by Techsnabexport (USSR) in those instances where specific provisions (referred to in (2) (B) above) for toll-processing in a third country, not party to a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement with Australia, are operable.