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Australia-UAE Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

August 2, 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with HH General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on August 1, 2012 (Photograph: Ryan Carter)

Australia has authorised uranium exports to the United Arab Emirates to cater for future UAE domestic power generation, with the signing of a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries in Abu Dhabi today.

Speaking from Abu Dhabi, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the Agreement opened the door for the UAE to become Australia’s first Middle Eastern export market for uranium.

“We’re underpinning jobs and investment in Australian uranium mines, and helping deliver certainty for the UAE’s domestic power needs,” Senator Carr said.

“Strict safeguards will apply, including for the safe handling and security of radioactive material, restrictions on re-export and guarantees of use for peaceful purposes.

“These mirror arrangements in Australia’s other Nuclear Cooperation Agreements, with Canada, Republic of Korea, China, the United States and elsewhere.

“It’s a strong recognition of our relationship with the United Arab Emirates, and a step forward for their plans for a domestic nuclear energy industry from 2017.”

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

The Australia-UAE Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed between Senator Carr on behalf of Australia, and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyam on behalf of the UAE.

The Agreement sets the framework for future private sector uranium sales to the UAE, which aims to bring four nuclear power plants online by 2020.

The Agreement covers conditions for supply of nuclear material, components related to nuclear technology and associated equipment for use in a domestic power industry. It explicitly prohibits use of Australian nuclear material for weapons or explosive devices.

Australia currently has 22 nuclear safeguards agreements worldwide, governing potential sales to nations including the US, Russia, China, Canada, Sweden, France and Republic of Korea, among others. A previous 1989 Agreement with Egypt was signed but not implemented.


Australia-UAE Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy


Australia has 22 nuclear safeguards agreements covering 39 countries, plus Taiwan, including US, Russia, Korea, UK, Canada, Sweden, France, Philippines, Japan, Switzerland, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina and China.

The Australia-UAE Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy sets out conditions under which nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components and technology can be transferred between Australia and the UAE for peaceful non-explosive purposes.

The agreement includes a series of provisions to ensure proper protections against wrongful use of nuclear material or related equipment.

These include:

Article 5: commits both parties to take all necessary measures to ensure that nuclear safety and radioactive waste management is consistent with all relevant international legal obligations;

Article 6: requires both parties to take all necessary measures to ensure adequate physical protection of nuclear material and other equipment under the Agreement.

Article 7: specifically prohibits the UAE transferring nuclear material subject to the agreement to any third party without the prior written consent of the Australian government.

Article 8: provides that nuclear material subject to the Agreement will not be enriched in the isotope uranium 235 or reprocessed within the UAE.

Article 9: explicitly limits the use of any material under the Agreement to peaceful purposes and prohibits their use for the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Following signature, the treaty will be tabled in the Australian Parliament.

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