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Emirates the latest blunder in Government’s uranium free-for-all

The Australian Greens have criticised the Federal Government's moves towards selling uranium to the United Arab Emirates.

Greens nuclear affairs spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the government should publish a list of countries to which it won't sell uranium.

"Apart from North Korea, is there any country this government has ruled out as a uranium customer? India refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but we know the resources minister is pushing for sales to India. Iran seems an obvious one, but the government cut a uranium deal with Russia - and Russia is assisting Iran's nuclear program," said Senator Ludlam. "Whatever assurances the UAE Government gives, can we trust a regime that denies its people basic political and human rights?"

"The government of the United Arab Emirates is a dictatorship and is not accountable to its people in any way," said Senator Ludlam. "This continues the pattern of successive Australian Governments in allowing the agenda of the uranium industry to override our national security and non-proliferation interests. The uranium mining industry has long been amoral in its choice of customers; the Australian Government on the other hand is supposed to represent a broader constituency."

Senator Ludlam said he was troubled by ‘hopes' expressed by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd that the UAE's approach to nuclear power generation ‘will serve as a model for other countries in the Middle East', when it should be encouraging the use of renewable energy.

"Without nuclear power stations - there can be no nuclear weapons, no possibility of fuels being stolen to build ‘dirty bombs', no possibility of a nuclear power station being hit by a conventional bomb and setting off a nuclear explosion. The events of recent months have made it clear the region is volatile. Do we really want the entire Middle East pursuing nuclear power?" he said.

"The era of peak oil is on the horizon, but nuclear power - which is both dangerous and finite - it not a solution. Governments in that region must be encouraged to pursue clean and safe renewable energy sources - sources that do not require transporting radioactive fuel and do not include the risk of nuclear proliferation or nuclear accidents."



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