Uranium safeguards needed if export to India resumes
Islam Times - Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor says that if Australia is to export uranium to India there must be strong enforceable safeguards against improper use.
The Labor party has a long-held policy of refusing uranium sales to India because it is not signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is pushing for a change at this weekend's ALP conference in Sydney.
It's believed the conference will approve the policy change, which is widely supported by the Labor Party's Right faction, which has a majority at the event.
However, Mr O'Connor says the conference will need to be assured that enforceable safeguards exist before it votes in favour of exporting uranium to India.
He told reporters in Sydney “I do think the delegates will want to know and will want to be assured about the safeguards that are in place”.
“India has made undertakings that they will not be improperly using those exports, if we were to export, but I think people would want to be assured that it can be enforced. I'd like to hear about the safeguards that could be put in place”, he added.
But Mr O'Connor said Australia's close relationship with India meant a policy change was possible.
The policy change is opposed by most of the party's Left, which in the past has been concerned about nuclear proliferation risks.
The three-day national conference opens in Sydney tomorrow.
Story Code: 119351