Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
26 May 2000
Silex: Australia/US Nuclear Cooperation
I am delighted to announce that Australia and the United States this week concluded a bilateral agreement that will enable further cooperation on a cutting edge technology developed by an Australian company, Silex Systems, in partnership with the United States Energy Corporation.
The Silex technology, if successfully developed on a commercial scale in the United States, is expected to lower the cost of producing low enriched uranium for power generation. There may also be applications for the technology in the semiconductor and medical industries.
Earlier this month, I visited the Silex research facility. I was impressed by the drive and determination of the Silex staff: the technology that they have pioneered is a credit to Australian innovation.
The agreement concluded today complements our 1981 bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States which did not anticipate a nuclear technology transfer from Australia to the United States.
The Silex agreement is fully consistent with the non-proliferation policies of Australia and the United States. A range of measures ensure that the technology or any derived product will only be used for peaceful purposes.