The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties today tabled a report supporting the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
The Agreement is the first of a series of agreements with the UK resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. As part of the Brexit arrangements, the UK is in the process of establishing new treaties, so while this treaty is new, all current arrangements relating to Australian nuclear materials will be unchanged.
Committee Chair, Mr Russell Broadbent MP, said that the Agreement will ensure that the transfer of Australian uranium to the UK, and the commercial operations of Australian uranium mining companies, is uninterrupted post-Brexit.
Australia imposes strict rules on the use of exported Australian nuclear materials. Australian nuclear materials can only be used for peaceful purposes.
Australian rules also require that Australian nuclear material must be safely and securely stored, and must be accounted for at all times.
“The UK is a significant international manufacturer of nuclear fuel. Australian nuclear materials transformed into nuclear fuel can only be exported from the UK to other countries that have a nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia,” Mr Broadbent said.
In addition, the UK must seek Australia’s prior consent before exporting Australian nuclear material to another country.
The Agreement will ensure that Australian nuclear materials are always subject to Australia’s stringent safety and security standards. It will come into force on either 29 March 2019 or 31 December 2020, depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation process.