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Australia: Uranium Sales To Russia OK

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin observes construction of the Volgodonsk nuclear plant.
Australia's Trade Minister Simon Crean says selling uranium to Russia would not violate the country's precondition that it only be used for peaceful purposes.

The government has not ratified a 2007 agreement for Australia to sell uranium to Russia.

A 2008 parliamentary report argued against it, claiming the uranium could be stolen or diverted for weapons use.

"We have taken considerable time on our part to ensure we're satisfied, the International Atomic Energy Agency is satisfied, that the strictest of safeguards are in place," Crean told Australian television

Analysts say if the agreement is put to a vote in parliament, it will likely pass. That is because the main opposition party backs nuclear trade with Moscow.

Environmentalists including the Australian Conservation Foundation, however, oppose uranium exports to Russia.

compiled from agency reports