Australia and China ratify nuclear fuel deal
The agreement providing a legal framework for shipments of the nuclear fuel to the Asian powerhouse will come into force in 30 days.india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 10:33 IST
Australia and China have ratified a nuclear agreement clearing the way for the export of uranium to feed Beijing's giant nuclear power programme, Canberra said on Friday.
The agreement providing a legal framework for shipments of the nuclear fuel to the Asian powerhouse will come into force in 30 days, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a statement.
"The timing and quantities of exports will be a matter for commercial negotiation," Downer said.
Australia, which has the world's largest known reserves of uranium, expects to earn some $250 million a year from the deal, a Senate committee was told last year.
China has announced plans to build 28 new nuclear reactors and by 2020 the annual uranium requirement will be about 8,000 tonnes a year, the committee heard.
The deal was finalised by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a visit to Australia last April after 12 months of negotiations over safeguards to ensure the fuel would not be used in nuclear weapons.
The agreement, signed by Wen and Prime Minister John Howard, commits China to abide by the rules of the International
Atomic Energy Agency and the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Downer said the agreement was ratified through an exchange of diplomatic notes in Beijing on January 4 after the government's standing committee on treaties gave the go-ahead.