... Largest uranium resources in the world ... Best practice worker and public health management ... Best practice product transportation management ... Supporting world’s best non-proliferation safeguards ... Positioned for strong nuclear energy growth in our region ... Facilitating clean, low emissions electricity production for an energy scarce world

Non-proliferation


NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION

Australia has around a third of the world’s reasonable-cost uranium. When processed, uranium can be used to produce electricity. However, it can also be used to make nuclear weapons. Australia wants to make sure our uranium is only used for peaceful purposes. Working with other countries worldwide through “nuclear non-proliferation” arrangements, Australia ensures uranium is only used for peaceful purposes. The Australian uranium industry strongly supports the work the government does to make sure our uranium is used only peacefully.

WHO CAN BUY OUR URANIUM?

Australian policy is that Australian uranium can only be sold to countries with which Australia has a nuclear cooperation agreement, to make sure that countries are committed to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They must also have safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including an Additional Protocol. Having an Additional Protocol in force means that the IAEA has access to additional information to assist in checking that uranium is not being used to make weapons. The IAEA can report problems to the United Nations Security Council.

HOW DO WE KNOW OUR URANIUM IS USED FOR PEACEFUL PURPOSES?

Australia’s non-proliferation arrangements are taken very seriously by government and industry. Australian legislation covering the regulation of uranium is managed by the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO).

Under our nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries, our uranium is measured through the nuclear fuel cycle. ASNO is responsible for checking where Australian uranium is used overseas. This information is reported to the government and Parliament once a year.

Australia will only trade with countries with which it has a legally binding nuclear cooperation agreement and meets export policy requirements. Australia can sell uranium to many countries including most European countries (such as France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany), China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Canada and the United States.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A COUNTRY CHOOSES TO BREAK THE AGREEMENT?

Although it has not happened to date, should a country break a nuclear agreement Australia could take a number of actions. These would depend on why the country chose to break the agreement. One action Australia could take would be to immediately stop selling uranium to that country. In serious cases Australia, together with other countries, may also decide to stop all trade with that country. The threat to block importation of essential items (such as oil or food) helps to deter the misuse of uranium for weapons.

Further information:
World Nuclear Association:
www.world-nuclear.org
International Atomic Energy Agency:
www.iaea.org
Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office:
www.dfat.gov.au/asno