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Labor backflip on uranium sales to India is unethical, illogical and probably illegal


The Labor Party's backflip on the sale of uranium to India is "a shocking abandonment of the campaign for nuclear disarmament", the Australian Greens said today. Nuclear issues spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the sale of uranium to India while that country is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is opposed by many Indian people and almost certainly illegal.

"The sale of uranium to India while that country refuses to sign the NPT would be illegal under Treaty of Rarotonga, signed by the Australian government in 1985. The Greens said this two weeks ago, and ANU Professor of International Law Nicholas Rothwell has since confirmed it to be the case.

"In India there is a huge and growing mass movement against nuclear power. Father Xavier Pinto of Goa wrote to the Prime Minister last month and said; ‘Please do not sell uranium to India. It will leave India the poorer if you lift that ban on uranium sales.' There are ongoing campaigns - including hunger strikes - against nuclear power in Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu; Jaitapur, Maharashtra and Gorakhpur, Haryana.

"And make no mistake - selling uranium to India will increase the proliferation of nuclear weapons in our region. K. Subrahmanyam, former head of the Indian National Security Advisory Board, states clearly - ‘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.' It could not be more clear. When Australia sells uranium to India, Indian authorities will divert more locally mined uranium to its weapons program."

Senator Ludlam said India's civilian nuclear sector was also considered dangerous.

"One of India's pioneer nuclear scientists and formerly a member of India's Atomic Energy Commission, Dr MP Parameswaran, recently said India should suspend its entire nuclear program, saying ‘Has the issue of final disposal of radioactive waste been solved? Has the possibility of nuclear accidents either due to human or mechanical or natural causes been totally prevented? The answer is no.' 

"This trade is illegal, dangerous and opposed by many Indian people including nuclear experts. Labor has disgraced itself today, and the consequences will be with us for many years to come."


Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302



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