The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
27 March 2001

Nuclear Cooperation and Safeguards Agreement with Argentina

I am pleased to announce that the Argentine Foreign Minister, Mr Rodriguez Giavarini, and I have initialled the text of a Nuclear Cooperation and Safeguards Agreement.

The Agreement provides a broad framework for cooperation in nuclear science and technology between Australia and Argentina. It follows the conclusion last year of a commerical contract between an Argentine firm, INVAP SE, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation for the construction of a replacement research reactor at Lucas Heights.

Together the Agreement and the contract mark the beginning of cooperation between our countries in areas such as: research reactors and associated components, equipment and materials; nuclear medicine; the safe management of irradiated fuel and radioactive wastes; radiological protection, nuclear safety and regulation; the exploration and exploitation of nuclear ores; and technology for safeguards and physical protection.

The Agreement constitutes a significant milestone in our bilateral relations, building on wide ranging cooperation between Australia and Argentina in areas such as trade and investment (including the Cairns Group and the New World Wine Group), disarmament and arms control, and the environment (including the Antarctic and the Valdivia Group).

The Agreement is consistent with Australia's strong stance on preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons while enabling peaceful uses of nuclear technology.  It ensures that any transfer of nuclear material or equipment between Australia and Argentina is subject to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and complies with Australia's longstanding policies for the control of nuclear materials.

Media inquiries:          Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 /
                                Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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