Australia may sell uranium to India
AUSTRALIA has said it would consider supplying uranium to India despite the country not being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), provided it agrees to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The proposal, which has been strongly backed by Prime Minister John Howard, has put Opposition leader Kevin Rudd at the loggerheads with the Labour government, which had earlier argued that selling uranium to India would undermine the NPT. Foreign minister Alexander Downer said Australia would consider supplying uranium to India even if it does not sign the NPT, provided it agrees to inspections by the UN atomic watchdog. Federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane, meanwhile, said the government would seek further legal advice on whether it has the constitutional powers to override the states’ bans on uranium mines in western Australia and Queensland, ‘The Age’ reported on Friday. Mr Downer said while he would prefer the countries sign the international non-proliferation treaty, “you have to face up to the facts.”He said India has no record of exporting nuclear weapons technology to other countries and the export of uranium would help curb greenhouse emissions on the sub-continent.“India is the second biggest country in the world in population terms,” Mr Downer said, adding, “its economy is growing at nearly 9% a year. It’s going to be a massive consumer of energy, and we want to deal with the issue of climate change.”Mr Downer said any uranium exported to India could be used only in civil nuclear facilities, and Australia would never sell yellow cake for nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered military vessels.