Australian news, and some related international items

Labor Party’s platform on uranium/nuclear and radioactive waste issues.


Dave Sweeey, 31 Mar 21, At its National Conference federal Labor adopted the platform (below) on uranium/nuclear and radioactive waste issues.

Clearly it is not what we would write but there’s a lot that is useful and important – including options to further contest Australian uranium sales, a commitment to responsible radioactive waste management and a rejection of domestic nuclear power.

Yesterday federal Labor also clearly reaffirmed its commitment to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the ICAN Ban) in government.


1. The production of uranium and its use in the nuclear fuel cycle present unique and unprecedented

hazards and risks, including:

 Threats to human health and the local environment in the mining and milling of uranium and

management of radioactive materials, which demand the enforcement of strict safety


 The generation of products that are usable as the raw materials for nuclear weapons

manufacture, which demands the enforcement of effective controls against diversion; and

 The generation of highly toxic radioactive waste by-products that demand permanently safe

disposal methods.

2 Labor accordingly will allow the mining and export of uranium only under the most stringent


3. In relation to mining and milling, Labor will:

 Ensure the safety of workers in the uranium industry is given priority. Labor has established a

compulsory register for workers in the uranium industry that includes regular health checks

and ongoing monitoring. The register is held by an independent agency and will be subject to

privacy provisions;

 Ensure Australian uranium mining, milling and rehabilitation is based on world best practice

standards, extensive continuing research on environmental impacts and the health and

safety of employees and affected communities, particularly Indigenous communities;

 Ensure the Australian public is informed about the quality of the environmental performance

of uranium mines through public accountability mechanisms;

 Foster a constructive relationship between mining companies and Indigenous communities

affected by uranium mining; and

 Prohibit the mining of uranium within national parks under International Union for

Conservation of Nature protected area category 1A, category 1B, and category 2, and listed

world heritage areas.

4. In relation to exports other than to India, Labor will allow the export of uranium only to those

countries that observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are committed to nonproliferation

policies, and have ratified international and bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements.

Labor will export uranium only to countries that maintain strict safeguards and security controls

over their nuclear power industries.

5. In relation to India, an important strategic partner for Australia, commitments and responsible

actions in support of nuclear non-proliferation, consistent with international guidelines on nuclear

supply, will provide an acceptable basis for peaceful nuclear cooperation, including the export of

uranium, subject to the application of strong safeguards.

6. In addition, Labor will work towards:

 Strengthening export control regimes and the rights and authority of the International

Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

 Appropriate international responses to violations of existing safeguard commitments;

 Limiting the processing of weapon usable material (separation of plutonium and high

enriched uranium in civilian programs);

 Tightening controls over the export of nuclear material and technology;

 Universalising of the IAEA additional protocol making it mandatory for all states and

members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to adhere to the additional protocol as a condition

of supply to all their transfers;

 Criminalising actions of individuals and companies that assist in nuclear proliferation;

 The development of an international guarantee of nuclear fuel supply to states foregoing

sensitive nuclear technologies;

 Revising the NPT to prevent countries from withdrawing from the NPT and passing a new

resolution in the United Nations Security Council addressing the penalties for withdrawal

from the NPT;

 Encouraging all nuclear states to join the NPT;

 Reserving the right to withhold supplies of uranium permanently, indefinitely or for a

specified period from any country that ceases to observe the non-proliferation safeguards

and security conditions applied to Australian uranium exports to that country, or which

adopts nuclear practices or policies that do not further advance the cause of nuclear nonproliferation;

 Supporting the maintenance and enhancement of international and Australian safeguards to

ensure that uranium mined in Australia, and nuclear products derived from it, are used only

for civil purposes by approved instrumentalities in approved countries that are signatories to

the NPT (with the exception of India) and with whom Australia has safeguard arrangements;


 Seeking adequate international resourcing of the IAEA to ensure its effectiveness in

undertaking its charter.

7. Labor will progress these commitments through diplomatic means including the re-establishment

of the Canberra Commission to re-invigorate Australia’s tradition of middle power, multilateral

diplomacy. In doing so, Labor believes that as a non-nuclear armed nation and a good international

citizen, Australia can make a significant contribution to promoting disarmament, the reduction of

nuclear stockpiles, and the responsible use of nuclear technology.

8. Labor will:

 Vigorously and totally oppose the ocean dumping of radioactive waste;

 Prohibit the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel

cycle in Australia;

 Fully meet all Australia’s obligations as a party to the NPT; and

 Remain strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste that is sourced

from overseas in Australia.

9. Labor acknowledges that radioactive waste management is a complex policy challenge that

requires the highest levels of transparency and evidence, while balancing the need of the

community to benefit from treatments for diseases like cancer. Accordingly, Labor will act in

accordance with scientific evidence, and with full transparency, broad public input and best

practice technical and consultative standards, taking into account the views of traditional owners,

to progress responsible radioactive waste management

March 31, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wastes

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