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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mironov Pushes Australia on Uranium Exports

CANBERRA, Australia — Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov on Tuesday urged Australia to clear the way for uranium exports to Russia to help meet its growing demand for nuclear energy.

Russia is planning 11 new nuclear reactors capable of generating 10 gigawatts of electricity by 2020 as it replaces aging reactors. Australia holds 40 percent of the world's known uranium reserves.

The two countries signed an agreement to expand uranium sales in late 2007, but Australia's center-left Labor government has put the deal on hold because of concerns that Moscow might not honor its non-proliferation obligations.

Mironov said uranium sales would be in the best interests of both countries.

"I believe there is no alternative to this cooperation," Mironov said through an interpreter while on a visit to Australia's parliament. "It is fruitful for both Russia and Australia."

Australia, the world's second-biggest uranium supplier after Canada, only sells uranium for nuclear energy and only to countries that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Australia, which has no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, also demands countries sign a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement on the use of uranium before it will allow the fuel to be exported.

Australia's parliamentary treaties committee in September said Russia's military incursion into Georgia should also be considered before Australia allows uranium sales to Russia.

It said Russia needed to clearly prove it could separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out inspections.