Skip to main content

"Setback" to India's N-dream: Australian Parliament committee talks of "significant risks" in supplying uranium

A uranium mine in South Australia
By Our Representative
In a setback to India, a new report by the Australian Parliament’s treaties committee has said that there are “some significant risks” in selling uranium to India. India sealed an agreement for the supply of uranium for “peaceful uses of nuclear energy” during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia in September 2014.
The just-released report wants the Australian government to commence selling uranium to India only when India achieves “full separation of civil and military nuclear facilities as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)”, with India establishing “an independent nuclear regulatory authority under law”, and this regulator is ensured complete “independence”.
The setback comes a week after Australian Minister of Defence Kevin Andrews met Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on September 2, 2015.
The report, prepared under the chairmanship of Liberal MP Wyatt Roy, talks of “three areas of risk associated with the agreement”, to quote Roy. According to him, the first is the risk to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), to which India is “not a signatory”. In fact, according to him, India “exists in isolation from the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream.”
Wanting the Australian government to “engage in diplomatic effort” to produce a “genuine non-proliferation”, Roy, however, believes, as of today “it is not realistic to expect India to renounce the manufacture of nuclear weapons and dismantle its nuclear arsenal”, as the country “borders two other nuclear weapons states with which it is occasionally in conflict.”
“The second area of risk”, according to Roy, relates to “the regulation of India’s nuclear facilities”. Here, he says, “Both the Auditor-General of India and the International Atomic Energy Commission have identified a number of weaknesses in the regulatory framework that jeopardise nuclear safety and security.”
Given this framework, Roy says, the committee under him “has made a recommendation that the sale of uranium to India only commence when these weaknesses have been addressed.”
And the third risk, says Roy, relates to “two unresolved issues relating to the provisions of the Agreement”, especially the “the terminology used in the consent mechanism for the refinement of nuclear materials, and the question of whether the proposed Agreement breaches the Treaty of Rarotonga.”
The “risks” have be referred to alongside the report suggesting that it would make good business sense to sell uranium to India. It insists, Australia possesses 30 per cent of the known global reserves of uranium ore and the agreement with the Government of India “can double the size of Australia’s nuclear mining sector”, with Australian export income could “add up to $1.75b to the Australian economy”.
Meanwhile, the Australian Greens have said the agreement was putting “short-term political expedience above global security”. In their comment on the report, they have underlined, “As such, the Australian Greens cannot support this agreement and urge others to do likewise.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has asked the Australian government to ensure that all safeguards are in place before the treaty is ratified. “It is disingenuous for the committee to recommend ratification while simultaneously acknowledging the substantial deficiencies that must be addressed before the agreement can be acted on,” it said in a statement.
Says Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the report’s claims that the uranium mining industry will double as a result of the potential deal “do not stack up... Australian uranium production in 2014 was the lowest for 16 years. Uranium provides less than 0.2% of national export revenue and 0.02% of Australian jobs.”

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.