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Nuclear Disarmament

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Undermining nonproliferation: uranium sales to Russia

The Federal Government's decision to allow uranium exports to Russia will harm Australia's credentials as a leading international voice against the spread of nuclear weapons, according to the Australian Greens.

Russia maintains the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, is a key part of the Iranian nuclear programme, and has not been visited by IAEA inspectors since 2001.

"The spread of weapons grade material is the dark underbelly of the uranium mining industry," said Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, spokesperson on nuclear issues.

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Rudd prepares to open the uranium floodgates to Russia

On the eve of the most important international disarmament negotiations in a generation, the Rudd Government has foreshadowed uranium sales to Russia, which holds the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Late in 2008 the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) made a strong recommendation against a Howard-era Russia uranium deal proceeding, unless a number of important conditions were met.

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Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

That the Senate notes:

(a) the ‘unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI', agreed by consensus at the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference;

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CHAIR-Okay, we will now turn to questions on national security, nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Senator LUDLAM-We will start off close to home with ASNO. I gather from reading a UN press release that ASNO has just lost its assistant secretary to the IAEA office in New York. Can you confirm that and let us know whether Dr Shaw has been replaced?

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Nuclear weapons in Australia's security policy

Senator LUDLAM-I have a couple of questions relating to veterans of British atomic weapons testing that occurred in Australia in the mid-20th century who, as you are no doubt aware, have been calling for compensation for a long time. Some of them have joined a class action in Britain after a UK High Court ruling-which I presume you are aware of-which did not rule in favour of veterans but at least allowed them to have their day in court and make a case.

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Senator Ludlam

A. Has ASNO been requested by the WA government to provide briefings or information or any kind of support, formally or informally, regarding safeguard to non-proliferation measures, given that there is a proposition to introduce uranium mining in WA?

B. Are you in regular contact with the relevant departments in the WA government or was that a one-off event?


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Uranium Exports

Senators Ludlam and Joyce asked:
Senator LUDLAM-I have a question on the topic Senator Eggleston raised before, uranium exports to China. You might not have this information to hand. We export uranium oxide to China. Can you tell us where that is enriched? Is it enriched in Chinese facilities or elsewhere?
Mr Hartwell-I am not sure that I can answer that question. I will ask my officer to come to the table.

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Nuclear Weapons Commission reports

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's International Commission on Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament has launched its report in Tokyo, confirming that nuclear weapons are the most inhumane, indiscriminate and wholly unnecessary weapons ever devised.

"The Commission, chaired by Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi, proposes a 90 per cent reduction in nuclear weapons by 2025, but is vague on steps to get to the ultimate goal of zero," said Australian Greens nuclear spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

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