Senate debates

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Questions on Notice

Uranium Exports (Question No. 1566)

Photo of Chris EvansChris Evans (WA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

The Minister for Resources and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) No.

(2) In 2010 the International Framework on Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) evolved as a successor to GNEP. Australia has been attending meetings of IFNEC/GNEP on a non-active participant basis to ensure Australia's interests in nuclear non-proliferation, security and safety are taken into account.

(3) No.

(4) The department will not be attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

(5) Officers from the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio did not attended the African Mining Indaba meeting in February 2012.

(6) AusAID advises that it has not received a proposal from AAMIG to link its funding to Australian resource projects.

(7) The Department has participated in two general meetings with the AAMIG, called by industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to discuss their activities in Africa. The Department has not provided any advice on the AAMIG proposal.

(8) The Department has reviewed relevant areas of the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and provided the response to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the agency responsible for coordinating the Government's Response to the report.

(9) The primary responsibility within the Australian Government on nuclear safety and radiation protection issues rests with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). ARPANSA has been, and continues to be, the primary source of advice to government on radiation health and safety aspects of the accident. The department contributed information on the past sales of uranium to Japan.

(10) A departmental representative joined Australia's delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety (20-24 June 2011).

(11) No.

(12) The department has provided general background information to the Minister and senior officials on India's potential uranium demand and forecast expansion of its nuclear sector with information taken from public sources. Following the ALP's conference decision on uranium sales to India, the Government is considering its policy and timelines on this matter.

(13) The Uranium Council (formerly the Uranium Industry Framework) includes representatives from Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, industry and the Northern Land Council. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 12 June 2012 . The work program for the Council includes the following:

        (14) With regard to access to defence land within the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), under the coexistence model announced in May 2011, while Defence will remain the primary user of the WPA, industry will be given certainty of access through a transparent regulatory process and defined access periods. Development of the legislation to underpin the regime will commence in 2012.

        The department has removed environmental requirements from uranium export permissions where the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPAC) has assumed regulatory responsibility through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

        (15) These agencies are kept informed during regular discussions for which no briefing papers or notes are required.

        (16) The proposed amendment by Senator Scullion to the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 provides for the host State/Territory to be compensated for wastes stored/disposed of by other States/Territories at a facility within its borders. The compensation will be raised by a fee on wastes from other States/Territories. No modelling has been prepared on this proposal.

        Following overseas practice, a combination of volume and activity based charges is expected to be applied at a national facility providing for disposal of low level waste and storage of intermediate level waste.

        (17) No.

        (18) There have been no consultations on Senator Scullion's amendment with the Northern Territory Government.

        (19) No. Discussions with the Northern Land Council were confined to Muckaty Station. Following passage of the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 consultation with the NLC will resume, providing an opportunity for the NLC to raise any other prospective sites within its jurisdiction.


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