The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the federal government not to advance uranium sales to Ukraine after a parliamentary committee identified risks of war, civil unrest and corruption in the eastern European country.
The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties found the existing safeguards and undertakings are ‘not sufficient’ and there is a heightened risk that Australian nuclear material will go off the radar in Ukraine.
The committee identified war, civil unrest and corruption as particular concerns.
“There are unique and particular nuclear safety and security factors in Ukraine,” said ACF’s Dave Sweeney.
“The existing framework is not fit for purpose.
“The inadequacy of Australia’s checks and balances may be further exposed by recent changes to the global political landscape that could result in an increase in Russian military adventurism.
“Australia, the country that fuelled Fukushima should not sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl.”
The Committee found “Australian nuclear material should never be placed in a situation where there is a risk that regulatory control of the material will be lost” (2.53)
The Committee recommended that Australia “permit the supply of Australian nuclear material to Ukraine only if Australia has a suitable contingency plan for the removal of Australian nuclear material if the material is at risk of a loss of regulatory control” (2.59)
“The federal government has developed a pattern of ignoring the recommendations of this very important committee, comprised of members of all major parties and both houses of parliament,” Dave Sweeney said.
“This pattern must not continue. ACF calls on the federal government not to put its political agenda ahead of national and international security.”