Australia will ratify a nuclear agreement that allows the country to export uranium to Russia for energy purposes. “This will enable Australian uranium to be exported to the Russian Federation for civil, peaceful nuclear purposes,” said Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. The agreement is expected to strengthen cooperation on safeguards to protect exports as Australia and Russia “both stand firmly against terrorism and violent extremism”, he added.
Russia and Australia signed up to US President Barack Obama’s plan to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years earlier this month at a two-day summit in Washington that involved 47 countries.
Australia has the world’s largest known uranium reserves, according to estimates of the World Nuclear Association. Ten per cent of its uranium is found in Western Australia while BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia contains the world’s biggest uranium deposit. Energy Resources of Australia, controlled by Rio Tinto Group, supplies around a 10th of the world’s mined uranium.