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Taiwan/Australia uranium deal fuels insecurity

Taiwan uranium deal fuels regional insecurity: Greens

The sale of Australian uranium to Taiwan is fuelling insecurity in the region, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Howard government's decision to facilitate Australian uranium sales to Taiwan via the United States of America is irresponsible and contravenes our obligation under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to reduce proliferation not to potentially increase it," Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said.

"Taiwan cannot sign the nuclear NPT because it is not a state but selling uranium via third parties undermines international safeguards and restricts Australian oversight of how Australian uranium is used.

"Given the administrative arrangements overseeing the United Nations' oil-for-food programme completely failed in the case of Australia, why would the community have any faith in promises by DFAT that administrative arrangements will provide adequate oversight for the use of Australian uranium in Taiwan?

"The continuing tensions between Taiwan and China are of grave concern, especially since both the US and China have said in recent years that they would use military force against each other over Taiwan. Australia should not be feeding these tensions by facilitating the sale of uranium to China and Taiwan.

"In addition to concerns about security and nuclear weapons proliferation, Taiwan has no solution to its nuclear waste problem. Attempts to export nuclear waste from its power plants to the Marshall Islands and North Korea fell through in recent years.

"These uranium export agreements are being driven by the mining industry with little concern or thought about the environmental impacts in other countries.

"Australia cannot wash its hands of responsibility once yellowcake leaves our shores.

"Instead of perpetuating the lie that nuclear power will provide energy security and address climate change, the Australian government and business should be promoting our expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency."

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