News & media

Selling uranium to India: at what cost?

Indian protests against Australian uranium sales

The Australian government's plan to start selling uranium to India has been met with strong community resistance in Australia and in India. 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is in India from 15-17 October and amid the staged handshakes and solemn exchanges of signed papers, the uranium sales plan is being heavily promoted. But not all are happy.

The plan overturns Australia's long-standing policy of not selling uranium to countries who are not signatory to the global Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – the best way to stop the spread of the world’s worst weapons.

Recent weeks have seen a sharp rise in community resistance to plans to start a nuclear reactor at Koodankulum in Tamil Nadu.

Tens of thousands of fisher-folk and residents are continuing the proud Indian tradition of non-violent civil disobedience and are literally burying their bodies in the sand in an attempt to stop access to the reactor.

But this is no beach game – last month two protestors were shot dead by police, beatings and arrests are routine and civil rights and legal groups have detailed and condemned the heavy handed state response.

These people will not be celebrating the planned uranium sales deal. Nor will those Australians affected by and opposed to uranium mining. In the shadow of Fukushima – a nuclear crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium – we need more uranium industry scrutiny and from Kakadu to Kolkata we need Australian politicians to pay as much attention to the actual danger signs as they do to the promised dollar signs.