Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Agreement with the United States on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

Media release

5 May 2010

Today I signed with United States Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, Ms Ellen Tauscher, a new Agreement between Australia and the United States of America concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

The new Agreement replaces the existing 1979 Agreement between Australia and the United States of America concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy that expires in January 2011.

The Agreement enhances the long-standing close cooperation between Australia and the United States on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

It also reflects the strong commitment of both the United States and Australia to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as the cornerstone of the non-proliferation and disarmament regimes.

The Agreement will extend and refine existing arrangements governing cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the application of non-proliferation safeguards and the security of nuclear material.

Arrangements for technical cooperation will also be refined to more closely align with current activities between our two countries. The Agreement also provides for the protection of intellectual property in connection with nuclear cooperation.

The United States occupies a central place in Australia's network of nuclear cooperation agreements. Australia sells around 36 per cent of its $1 billion in uranium exports to the United States. The United States is also a major processor of Australian uranium sold to other countries.

The new Agreement is for an initial period of 30 years, but may be extended further.

The Agreement will be subject to Australia's normal domestic treaty-making process, including tabling in Parliament and consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

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