17 September 2009 - Treaties Committee report on nuclear agreements deserves serious attention

The uranium industry today congratulated the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for producing a thorough and unanimous report on Australia’s framework of nuclear-related treaties and agreements.

“It is clear from the report that this politically diverse committee has given mature and considered attention to the broad range of issues raised by nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament,” said Michael Angwin, the Executive Director of the Australian Uranium Association.

“The unanimity of approach will enhance the credibility of the report and ensure it is influential in the coming preparations for the 2010 review of the operation of the international Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT),” Mr Angwin said.

Committee members have recognised that it is possible to take actions to reduce and mitigate proliferation risks while uranium exports and nuclear power generation continue to grow.

This is manifested in the Committee’s recommendation that the Australian Government should further investigate multilateral control of uranium enrichment and fuel reprocessing.

“There are some who believe the only certain way to avoid proliferation is to phase out uranium mining and the civil nuclear power industry,” Mr Angwin said.

“This Committee has clearly accepted that this is not the real world in which we live,” he said.

Mr Angwin said it was clear the Committee had derived considerable benefit and perspective from its overseas consultations.

“We congratulate the Committee for looking outside Australia to supplement and provide perspective on the considerable body of information and opinion it attracted from local organisations and individuals,” he said.

The report is thorough and its recommendations warrant careful consideration. “We will be giving the report the detailed attention it clearly deserves,” Mr Angwin said.