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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 22


Mr UREN -I direct my question to . the Deputy Prime Minister. Is it a fact that Australia has entered into a contract to supply uranium to Finland and that that uranium will be enriched in the Soviet Union? Is it also a fact that the Soviet installations at which the Australian uranium would be enriched are used for the production of highly enriched uranium for military purposes? What guarantee can the Minister or the Government give that Australia's uranium will in no way be used to contribute to the production of Soviet nuclear weapons? How does the Government reconcile allowing Australia's uranium to pass to the Soviet Union with the Prime Minister's view that the Soviet Union's actions in Afghanistan represent the greatest threat to world peace since the Second World War?


Mr ANTHONY - It is true that a contract has been entered into with Finland for the supply of uranium. I believe that it is possible that it will be enriched in the Soviet Union. The concern of the Australian Government is to see that our uranium contracts conform with our international safeguard arrangements and that non-proliferation arrangements are entered into to ensure that the uranium is not used for other than peaceful purposes. If the uranium goes to the Soviet Union it will do so on an all-in all-out basis. I think that it has to be understood that the Soviet Union is a member of the non-proliferation treaty and is a depository state under the treaty. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics also accepts the guidelines of the nuclear supplier groups on the export of nuclear material, equipment or technology.

I think it would be of interest to members of this House to know that information provided to me shows that approximately 50 per cent of the enriched uranium used in western Europe in 1980 will have been treated in the Soviet Union - 50 per cent for West Germany, 50 per cent for Spain, 40 per cent for Italy, 1 00 per cent for Finland and approximately 20 per cent for Belgium and the United Kingdom. It is also of interest to note that nuclear material of Canadian origin which has been contracted for sale to Finland over the past three or four years has also been enriched in the Soviet Union. We believe that, provided it conforms with the international safeguard arrangements and the non-proliferation features are honoured, it is in conformity with our international safeguard obligations.







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