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The federal government’s decision to sell uranium to the United Arab Emirates lacks credibility and has the potential to undermine efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
“In the shadow of Fukushima – an ongoing crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium – nuclear power is under a cloud as an energy source.
“Japan closed all its nuclear plants for safety testing, Germany has committed to get out of nuclear power within a decade and nations such as Switzerland, Belgium and Italy are moving away from nuclear power.
“Plans for new nuclear power reactors in the UK and USA face increased community resistance and scrutiny and increased regulatory compliance costs.
“But despite repeated domestic and international calls, including from the UN Secretary General, the federal government has done nothing to review or enhance nuclear security regimes, bi-lateral safeguards or chain-of-custody arrangements.
“The United Arab Emirates, an alliance of seven monarchies in which each monarch retains absolute power, sits in the middle of an unstable region.
“The Arab Spring has not fully sprung in the UAE.
“To state that Australian uranium will not be misused because it is in the UAE’s interest not to misuse it is naïve and lacks credibility.
To state that Australian uranium will not be misused because it is in the UAE’s interest not to misuse it is naïve and lacks credibility.
“This move by the federal government has the potential to undermine efforts to advance nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East.
“Australia’s uranium export policy continues to be driven by commercial interests, not the national interest.
“The Australian Conservation Foundation has serious concerns about the adequacy and capacity of the international nuclear safeguards regime.”