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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Australia Approves Uranium Exports to Russia

CANBERRA, Australia — Any Australian uranium sales to Russia would meet nonproliferation requirements, but the government remains firmly against sales to India, Trade Minister Simon Crean said Friday.

The government on Thursday rejected a 2008 parliamentary report's recommendation that Australia not proceed with an agreement to sell uranium to Russia.

The report had expressed concerns that the uranium could be stolen or diverted for weapons use.

The government said it has not yet made a final decision on whether to ratify the agreement, signed in 2007 by former Prime Minister John Howard and then-President Vladimir Putin.

But it said the agreement was in compliance with Australia's long-standing condition that the country's uranium be used only for peaceful purposes.

"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 Broadcasting on Friday.

If the Russian agreement is submitted to parliament for ratification, it is expected to easily pass because the main opposition party backs nuclear trade with Moscow.

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