Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Ducking and weaving about India’s nuclear safety – Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO)

Senator LUDLAM: …. Are you aware of the recent report by their Auditor-General that absolutely slams the industry?

Mr Shannon: Yes.

Senator LUDLAM: ……. if you are not convinced-as the Indian Auditor-General certainly isn’t-that those plants are being run to anything like world’s best practice, a sales agreement would not occur?

Ms Bird: These are all issues which will be worked through during the negotiating practice process.

 http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/estimates/australian-safeguards-and-non-proliferation-office-asno   Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) 18 Oct 2012 | Scott Ludlam Supplementary Senate Estimates – Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee - 18 October 2012 “Dr Kalish is the acting DG of ASNO……

Senator LUDLAM:  … Can you tell us officially, from the point of view of ASNO, what the status is of the bilateral safeguards agreement with India?….

Dr Kalish: Negotiation has not commenced on that treaty.

Senator LUDLAM: Well, it has been announced to the entire planet that there will be an agreement. So ASNO has not yet begun work on any such agreement?

Dr Kalish: I believe what was announced was that negotiations would commence on an agreement.

Senator LUDLAM: Can you just sketch for us the process by which those negotiations will be conducted?

Mr Shannon:….. The agreement has been reached to start the negotiations, which was last night, our time. Advice is being
assembled for ministers to consider the mandate. …. We think it will take some time, maybe a year or two. We do not have a feel for it yet

Senator LUDLAM: It sounds like a big announcement has been made but actually there is nothing at all in terms of how these negotiations will progress or, from an Australian side, who the lead organisation will be, who our negotiators will be.

Mr Shannon: No. Those things have not yet been finally decided……
Senator LUDLAM: …. Are you aware of the recent report by their Auditor-General that absolutely slams the industry?

Mr Shannon: Yes.

Senator LUDLAM: ASNO is in charge of making sure that material is not diverted illegally to weapons programs and so on. You do not have a formal safety role. I appreciate that you have at least brought that information to the table. Will the safety of those plants in the Indian regulatory system, leaving the safeguards issue aside for a moment, play any part in the decision making around safeguards for a sales agreement?

Mr Shannon: Yes.

Senator LUDLAM: It will?
Mr Shannon: Yes. We would certainly take this into account. We would
expect India to follow international best practice with regard to
safety and we would expect our negotiators to address nuclear safety,
along with other matters.

Senator LUDLAM: Does that mean if you are not convinced-as the Indian Auditor-General certainly isn’t-that those plants are being run to anything like world’s best practice, a sales agreement would not occur? Obviously you are able to give it regard, and I am pleased to
hear that because I was not certain if that was true. What happens if
you are not happy with safety standards?

Ms Bird: These are all issues which will be worked through during the
negotiating practice process. All of these issues will be worked
through…..
Senator LUDLAM: Please explain our objectives then. Are your objectives to conclude a sales agreement or are your objectives to make absolutely certain that Australian uranium is not diverted into weapons programs?

Mr Shannon: Both. One is related to the other. If we have a sales
agreement, part and parcel of that will be that there is no diversion.

Senator LUDLAM: We will just come back to the safety side. What if you
are not convinced, ultimately, as the Indian AG is not, that these
plants are safe?

Mr Shannon: Ministers will make a decision based on what our nuclear
policy objectives are, what has been the outcome of the agreement….
http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/estimates/australian-safeguards-and-non-proliferation-office-asno

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October 20, 2012 - Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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