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Action needed to turn welcome nuclear rhetoric into reality

The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed today’s bipartisan motion on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and called for real action to match the rhetoric.

“The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have taken an important step in acknowledging the grave threat posed by nuclear weapons and the importance of nuclear disarmament and abolition,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“The motion recognises that the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the essential foundation for the achievement of nuclear disarmament and the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  

“Yet Australia is actively undermining non-proliferation efforts and weakening the NPT by selling uranium to nuclear armed states and planning to sell to non NPT signatories.

“Australia currently sells uranium to nuclear weapons states such as France, the UK, China and the USA and is advancing plans to sell uranium to Russia and India — both of which are nuclear weapons states with secretive weapons programs.

“India is not a party to the NPT and there is clear legal advice that selling uranium to India would be in conflict with our obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty.

“As well as joining international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, Australia should suspend uranium sales to nuclear weapons states that don’t comply with or are not signatories to the NPT.

“Australia must become much more diligent in ensuring we are not supplying uranium to countries with inadequate safety standards in their civil nuclear power programs.

“We know Australian uranium was present in the reactors at Fukushima and that rocks from South Australia and Kakadu are fuelled fallout in Japan and beyond.

“Australian uranium has already spread serious problems and nuclear insecurity around the world. While this motion is a significant step, we need to be far more rigorous in making sure we do not continue to fuel nuclear threats.”