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Howard must rule out uranium exports to India

Howard must rule out uranium exports to India: Greens

Prime Minister John Howard must immediately rule out permitting uranium exports to India, Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said today.

"All Australians should be alarmed about reports that senior Australian officials have told India that the Howard government is prepared to permit the sale of uranium while India remains outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Senator Milne said in Canberra.

"Prime Minister Howard has said that India has a good non-proliferation record since it exploded a nuclear weapon 30 years ago. However, a recent report by the US-based Institute of Science and International Security details a well developed and active Indian program to outfit its uranium enrichment program and to circumvent other countries' export control efforts.

"By exporting uranium to India, Australia would be granting the same access to uranium as is permitted for non-nuclear weapon states that fully comply with the NPT, but with fewer safeguards than apply under the treaty.

"This would seriously undermine the NPT and jeopardise regional security. It would also violate the treaty governing the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which Australia is a signatory, which prohibits exports of nuclear materials to any country without full-scope safeguards.

"Therefore, Prime Minister Howard must rule out permitting Australian uranium to be exported to India."

The Greens oppose nuclear power because of the risks of accidents, the problem of storing radioactive waste, and the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. Nuclear power is not an answer to climate change because it is too slow, too expensive, too dangerous and is not sustainable.

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