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Uranium sales to India: illegal, immoral, irresponsible

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 21 Mar 2013

Negotiations to sell uranium to India that commenced this week must be abandoned immediately, said Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

"The Fukushima nuclear disaster began March 11, 2011, and more than two years on 160,000 people are still unable to return to their homes because of contamination of a vast area of Japan. There was Australian uranium in all four reactors at Fukushima, yet the Australian Government has learnt nothing. They are embarking on a deranged project to sell uranium to a country that has nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has an appalling track record on nuclear safety," said Senator Ludlam.

"Foreign Minister Bob Carr has defended India's non-proliferation record, but India has produced plutonium for weapons from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes'. Minister Carr has also forgotten that just eight years ago, K. Subrahmanyam, former head of the national security advisory board in India, said: ‘ is to India's advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production'. Make no mistake; Australian uranium would boost India's nuclear weapons capacity.

"By pouring uranium into India, Australia would fuel an industry that India's Auditor General strongly condemned in September 2012. There is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety, and inspections, safety standards, emergency response plans, the supervision of licensing of nuclear sites, and the disposal of nuclear waste are all dangerously sub-standard.

"Hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women have mobilised in peaceful anti-nuclear protests - and they have been subject to severe, brutal repression from police. Five of the activists have been murdered since 2010 in the struggle against the nuclear industry in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana).

"Australia selling uranium to India is a violation of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and would be illegal under Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries not under full scope safeguards.

"Selling uranium to India would be illegal, immoral, irresponsible, and would cause the people of India far more misery than good - all to squeeze out a few dollars more for Australia's tiny and declining uranium sector."


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