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Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

Joint media release - Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Resources and Energy

18 March 2010

The Government has today tabled its response to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) on the Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

The Agreement was signed in September 2007 and JSCOT tabled its report on 18 September 2008.

The Government has given careful consideration to the issues raised in the JSCOT report.

The Government's position, which is reflected in its response to the JSCOT report, is that the Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement provides appropriate safeguards for the supply of Australian uranium for use in Russia's civil nuclear sector.

The Agreement would ensure that any uranium supplied could only be used for peaceful purposes, must be subject to Russia's safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and could only be used in facilities jointly agreed by Australia and Russia.

The safeguards enshrined in the Agreement are consistent with Australia's long-standing and strict requirements to ensure the peaceful use of Australian uranium.

In preparing its response to the JSCOT report, the Government consulted closely with the IAEA and other relevant Governments, including Japan and Canada, which have similar agreements in place with Russia.

The response also sets out Australia's position on Russia's intervention in Georgia, which was a very prominent issue in Australian-Russian relations at the time of the tabling of the JSCOT report.

The Government will make a final decision on ratification of the Agreement in due course.

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