The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA100 - 9 August 2005

Negotiation of Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with China

I am pleased to announce Australia will formally commence negotiations on a nuclear cooperation agreement with China.

The agreement will establish safeguards arrangements to ensure Australian uranium supplied to China is used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Australian and Chinese officials have held exploratory talks on the proposed agreement.

China is the world's second largest energy consumer and has a high projected growth in electricity demand. China's plans to meet this demand include a four-fold increase in nuclear energy production by 2020. Diversifying from fossil fuels will result in lower greenhouse gas and particulate emissions.

Australia has an estimated 40 per cent of the world's low-cost uranium resources. Opening up this export opportunity with China is consistent with the growing trade and economic relationship between our two countries, and Australia's position as a secure supplier of energy resources.

Australia has 19 nuclear agreements covering 36 countries. Australian uranium exports account for around two per cent of total world electricity production. Countries using Australian uranium avoid carbon dioxide emissions roughly equivalent to Australia's entire annual CO2 emissions.

States and Territories will be kept advised of the negotiations. When finalised, in accordance with Australian treaty-making practice, the agreement will be tabled in Parliament for review by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties before binding treaty action is taken.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500 , DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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