India is a nuclear-armed nation that is expanding its nuclear weapons program amid a high-stakes standoff with its neighbour and rival Pakistan. India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is not subject to full international or independent scrutiny.
Supplying uranium in this context breaches Australia’s obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty.
Mr Abbott’s plan also ignores the serious and unresolved safety and security problems facing India’s nuclear industry. These were highlighted two years ago when the Indian Auditor-General warned of “a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed”.
“………Energy policy is another great challenge, which brings us back to Abbott’s visit. The tangible – yet officially unconfirmed – mission here is commercial – to sign an inter-country safe-guards agreement removing the last impediments to Australian uranium sales to India. Insiders say it could also to facilitate direct Indian investment in what might otherwise be marginal uranium mines in Australia.
The trade is something John Howard wanted and Julia Gillard got moving on decisively in 2012. And it is a circle the pro-nuclear Abbott is more than happy to square notwithstanding India’s refusal to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
For Abbott and Modi, whose popularity is also tied up in nationalism, the uranium agreement fits a broader narrative. Modi just returned from a five-day visit to Japan for talks with Abbott’s close ally, Shinzo Abe…….
When he nominated Japan as Australia’s best friend in Asia, it was on the basis of its westernised liberal-democratic values – the contradistinction with China was left unsaid.
One imagines the same logic is underpinning the new bilateral relationship Abbott wants to forge with India. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/bringing-india-into-australias-nuclear-family-20140904-10c655.html#ixzz3CZNGY23g
Russia uranium ban should stay: Greens (Oz) http://theinterpretor.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/russia-uranium-ban-should-stay-greens-oz/ Sep 2014 | Scott Ludlam Confirmation that the Australian Government has suspended potential uranium sales to the Russian Federation has been welcomed by the Greens, after questions placed by Adam Bandt MP in the House and Senator Scott Ludlam in the Senate.
“The Australian Greens have argued that uranium sales to the Russian Federation should never have been contemplated in the first place,” Senator Ludlam said.
“President Putin’s implied threat of nuclear escalation last week, saying, “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers,” underlies the risks that Australia faces in fuelling the nuclear industry in Russia and elsewhere.
“With heightened tensions resulting from Russia’s military actions in eastern Ukraine, it is entirely appropriate for the Australian Government to prevent Australian uranium from being shipped to the Russian Federation,” said Senator Ludlam.
“The Greens believe we should revert to an outright ban and caution Prime Minister Abbott against opening a new line of atomic instability with India, which has refused to sign up to international legal agreements on non-proliferation and disarmament.”
Australian and Indian nuclear trade http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-2014/australian-and-indian-nuclear-trade Hasan Ehtisham 4 Sept 14 Adding Australian uranium into India’s energy mix would have serious fallouts on prevailing strained relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbours Australia is expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott early next month. Negotiations have been concluded to smooth the path for uranium imports from Australia.
The news came out when hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women protested against the expanding nuclear industry. These protests have been a regular feature in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana), and at least five activists have lost their lives since 2010 in their struggle against the Indian government’s decision without taking the affected parties on board. Radioactive waste from uranium mining in the country’s east is reportedly affecting adjacent communities. Thousands of Indians suffer from the effects of uranium mining related to poor technical and management practices. Continue reading
Australia to Step Up Economic Sanctions on Russia Trade Between Two Nations Worth $1.68 Billion a Year , WSJ By ROB TAYLOR 1 Sept 14 CANBERRA, Australia—Australia will ratchet up economic sanctions against Russia in response to its military action in Ukraine, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying Moscow risked becoming an “international pariah.”
Australia plans to match measures introduced by the European Union last month and increase restrictions on the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets, Mr. Abbott said, while barring the export of goods and services for use in Russia’s oil exploration and production.
But the list of additional sanctions didn’t mention the sale of Australian uranium….http://online.wsj.com/articles/australia-to-step-up-economic-sanctions-on-russia-1409552735
Growing public anxiety in Greenland, over Australian uranium miner Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL)
Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.
The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.
In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem
This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.
Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..
In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise.
It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland’s ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.
The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.
There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq.
Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans.
Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland.
Who owns GMEL?
This would have been an important but fairly typical contest over resources, but after issues surrounding the ownership and status of Perth-based GMEL were raised in the Greenlandic parliament, the prospects of the Australian firm may be in jeopardy. Continue reading
Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments If Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the Treaty of Rarotonga, which binds it from not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with safeguards requirements of Article III(1) of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Article III(1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA. Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign-supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s ‘facility specific’ safeguards.
Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or ‘facility specific’ of IAEA, contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries
AUSTRALIAN PROSPECTIVE NUCLEAR TRADE WITH INDIA – THE CONTROVERSY http://www.eurasiareview.com/21082014-australian-prospective-nuclear-trade-india-controversy/AUGUST 21, 2014 EURASIA REVIEW BY HASAN EHTISHAM
These protests have been a regular feature in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana) and at least five activists have lost their lives since 2010 in their struggle against the Indian government’s decision without taking the affected parties on board. Radioactive waste from uranium mining in the country’s east is reportedly affecting adjacent communities. Thousands of Indians suffer from the effects of uranium mining as related to poor technical and management practices. Continue reading
Australian opposition ‘unlikely’ to keep climate off G20 agenda RTCC 20 August 2014, Australia lacks gravitas to cast off climate talk, with US and China likely to put pressure on Tony Abbott By Sophie Yeo
Climate change is likely to be discussed at the G20 summit in Brisbane, despite Australia’s decision to leave it off the agenda. This is the finding of a new report, released this week by the centre-right think-tank Committee for Economic Development in Australia (CEDA).
Australia lacks the diplomatic weight to dismiss the issue while heavyweights such as China and the US are ramping up their own efforts to combat carbon pollution, say the authors.
“As a middle-power economy, Australia’s leadership and influence may be limited,” writes Sarah-Jane Derby, senior economist at CEDA, in the report.
“For example, members may be receptive to Australia introducing new ideas and changing the agenda, but without the support of players who are more powerful, these ideas may not be taken seriously.”
Australia prime minister Tony Abbott has faced heavy criticism from environmentalists over his decision to axe many of the country’s flagship climate policies, such as the tax on carbon.
Reports from Australia suggest he knocked climate change off the G20 agenda as it did not fit with the summit’s focus on economic growth……. This year’s G20 takes place two weeks before a major UN summit on climate change takes place in the Peruvian capital, Lima.
The UN meets annually to work towards a solution on climate change, but the G20 provides opportunities for “open discussions” between the world’s major economic players that are not possible during international meetings, says the report.
It adds that the tight economic focus of the Brisbane summit could add value to climate change discussions, by considering the financial risks and consequences of heating the planet……
In June, the US ambassador to Australia said that Obama planned on raising climate change during the leaders’ summit and at “every international forum”, as it was a critical issue “not only to Americans but to the world”. – See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/08/20/australian-opposition-unlikely-to-keep-climate-off-g20-agenda/#sthash.Gl6EU0Jf.dpuf
19 Aug 14 News that Australian officials have concluded a deal to sell uranium to India raises concerns the federal government may have violated its international nuclear non-proliferation obligations, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
“India’s nuclear industry has many continuing and unresolved safety and security problems,” said ACF’s nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“In 2012 the Indian Auditor General released a damning report warning of ‘a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed’.
“ACF is concerned a uranium export deal with India would violate the 1995 nuclear non-proliferation (NPT) Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga – the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty – which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries not under full scope safeguards. India is not under full scope safeguards.”
The former head of the national security advisory board in India, K. Subrahmanyam, said in 2005: ‘Given India’s uranium ore crunch and the need to build up our … nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible, it is to India’s advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’.
“Clearly, Australian uranium would boost India’s nuclear weapons capacity,” Dave Sweeney said.
“Australian uranium in India will free up India’s uranium stockpiles to be used in its nuclear weapons program.
“Australian uranium is definitely fuelling radioactive waste and risk. It is also potentially fuelling the spread of nuclear weapons. Neither is desirable or acceptable.
“Before PM Tony Abbott inks a deal with New Delhi, the federal government must show that any bilateral agreement requires India to take measureable disarmament actions and does not breach international agreements to which Australia is a party.” For context and comment contact: Dave Sweeney, 0408 317 812
Scott Ludlam Greens spokesperson for Nuclear Senator for WA S August 18, 2014 Australia will be directly complicit in fuelling the nuclear arms-race between India and Pakistan if reports are confirmed that a uranium deal with India is on the cards.
Prime Minister Abbott seems set to continue his high-profile series of international gaffes, missteps and humiliations, this one for the sole benefit of the mortally wounded uranium sector.
India’s scandal-prone nuclear industry has been plagued with accidents and near-misses at reactor sites; events including fires, floods, partial reactor collapses and more recently the construction of two Russian-designed plants in the tsunami-zone in the south of Tamil Nadu.
- Subrahmanyam, former head of the National Security Advisory Board in India, said: ‘it is to India’s advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’.
India first produced weapons-grade plutonium from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes’. Instead of fuelling this arms race, Australian industry should be partnering with India’s vibrant solar sector
China Declares Australia a Military Threat Over US Pact http://www.therealnewsmatters.com/2014/08/china-declares-australia-military.html By Joshua Philipp, Epoch Times , 17 Aug 14 China’s state-run media have declared Australia a threat to its national security, after Australia finalized a 25-year military pact with the United States.
The United States currently has 1,200 troops from the Marine Corps and Air Force training with Australian troops for humanitarian and disaster relief. The defense agreement will increase the number of U.S. troops at Darwin in northern Australia to 2,500.
The Chinese regime is none too pleased about the agreement, however.
Li Jie, rear admiral of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, told Want China Times that Australia could pressure China’s supply lines in the Strait of Malacca in a conflict over the South China Sea.
“Australia is therefore likely to become a threat to China’s national security,” it states.
Global Times reported that if a war broke out between China and Vietnam or the Philippines, the United States could deploy submarines and aircraft from Australia….
Imposing sanctions on Russia will result in economic heartache for Australia, former ambassador warns ABC News 10 Aug 14 A former Australian ambassador to Moscow and Ukraine says imposing sanctions on Russia will only result in economic heartache for Australia.
The Government has signalled it might apply tougher sanctions against Moscow over the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane tragedy and Russia’s decision to ban food imports from Australia.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has threatened banning the sale of uranium to Russia if troops crossed into Ukraine.
But former Australian ambassador to Russia and Ukraine, Cavan Hogue, says it is not constructive for Australia to be entering into a tit-for-tat trade ban with Russia.
“What’s in it for us? It’s essentially a European problem. We seem to be doing it because we want to go along with Europe and North America,” he said.
“So I think we would have probably been better served by just keeping our big mouths shut…………
Russia’s defence ministry overnight said it had finished military exercises in southern Russia which the United States had criticised as a “provocative” step amid the Ukraine crisis. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-09/former-ambassador-moscow-ukraine-warns-against-russian-sanctions/5659946
Russia told ban on sale of uranium, heavier sanctions are ‘on the table’, SMH August 9, 2014 Lakita Bourke Australia has urged President Vladimir Putin against crossing into Ukraine under the guise of a “humanitarian mission”, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warning further sanctions could involve bans on the sale of uranium.
As Prime Minister Tony Abbott labelled Russia a bully and warned Moscow not to interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs, Ms Bishop said Australia had found a new status in world affairs, had proved itself capable of shifting global opinions and of influencing events in the national interest… http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/russia-told-ban-on-sale-of-uranium-heavier-sanctions-are-on-the-table-20140808-3de5t.html#ixzz39vz8Gngx
Uranium sanctions next, Julie Bishop warns Russia, as part of ‘broader, deeper’ response over MH17, SMH August 8, 2014 Latika Bourke
National political reporter Further Russian intervention in Ukraine would invite Australian sanctions including on the sale of uranium says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who has declared “everything’s on the table” if Moscow fails to accept responsibility for downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Ms Bishop’s stern warning came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in Sydney on Friday afternoon, called on Russia to hold back its forces, currently massing on the Ukraine border. He said any crossing would constitute an “invasion”.
“I want to say very clearly that we are working towards stronger sanctions,” he said.
“I say to President Putin, if he wants to be regarded as a world leader, as opposed to becoming an international outcast: hold your forces back. Stay behind the border, let the business of Ukraine be sorted out by Ukranians.”…….If Russia does seek to intervene in Ukraine, there would be consequences” Ms Bishop warned……..Russia announced its own retaliatory sanctions on Australia and other Western nations overnight, which include banning foodstuffs, including meat, fruit and vegetables.
Ms Bishop played down their impact on the Australian economy and said it was more “petulance” from Russia, which has refused to accept responsibility for MH17. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/uranium-sanctions-next-julie-bishop-warns-russia-as-part-of-broader-deeper-response-over-mh17-20140808-3ddf2.html#ixzz39vw7gvb6
Sanctions are good – tell that to Australian farmers iT Wire 8 Aug 14, Australia has two major export sectors and technology is not one of them. Aside from mining, food accounts for about $30 billion of this country’s national exports. Now, thanks to our good friends in Washington and our insipidly compliant lapdog Government we’ve just lost a reliable $500 million customer and moved a step closer to a senseless war. Following on from my previous article about MH17, the downed Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, after showing remarkable restraint in the face of a series of increasingly humiliating and totally unjust sanctions, Russia has finally responded with sanctions of its own. The difference is that Russia’s sanctions actually mean something. They hit us where it hurts – in the bread basket……..
In the coming year, Australian food producers would have been on track to sell a potential $500 million of produce to Russia. Particularly hard hit will be the dairy industry, which will now be forced to wipe about $100 million off its previously projected $575 million of exports. Russia was one of the Australian dairy industry’s shining star growth markets and this will be a big and needless hit.
While mining and resources have received all the glory in recent years for Australia’s recent and unprecedented lengthy economic boom, our food export business has been a relatively quiet achiever in contributing to this country’s continuing prosperity. Australian produce is second to none in its quality and purity. There are no GMO vegetables and fruit grown in Australia. Our dairy products are pure and radiation free, unlike those in Europe. Our grains are also largely GMO free and our meat produce is also generally high quality. …….http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/beerfiles/65017-sanctions-are-good-%E2%80%93-tell-that-to-australian-farmers