Greens party says no to uranium export to India

Australia`s Greens party which sent its first lawmaker to the parliament this election, has strongly opposed uranium mining and its export to non-NPT countries like India, saying the move could have global repercussions.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2010, 23:25 PM IST

Melbourne: Australia`s Greens party
which sent its first lawmaker to the parliament this election,
has strongly opposed uranium mining and its export to non-NPT
countries like India, saying the move could have global
repercussions.

Greens nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam said the minor
party wanted to curb uranium mining near Kakadu National Park
and could not "contemplate" exports to Russia or India.

"That would have global repercussions. India has never
signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty," he said.

Ludlam said he wanted to explain the Greens` stance to
Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson as the issue
sparks environmental and social concerns.

"We are not opposing it through some sort of
ideological bent," he said.

"There are some really serious economic, social,
environmental and Aboriginal issues at stake here if we just
allow this industry to plough ahead," he was quoted as saying
by `The Daily Telegraph`.

Ludlam said uranium mining was a difficult, volatile
industry to make money from, and warned investors to be
careful.

However, Ferguson reacted to the statement and said
Ludlam`s comments were hampering the sector.

"Clearly (the Greens) are trying to create an air of
uncertainty about investment in Australia," he said, adding
uranium mining was a "fact of life", and Australia only
exported it to responsible countries.

"We only export uranium to countries who have a
bilateral (agreement) with Australia, guaranteeing that it`s
used with safe hands, for peaceful purposes," he said.

The Greens only MP in the parliament has supported
Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s government, which has a policy
of not exporting uranium to non-signatory countries.

Opposition energy and resources spokesman Ian
Macfarlane called on Gillard to formally rule out restricting
uranium mining.

Fiona Nash, senator of National party of Australia
accused the Greens of having a narrow perspective on the
matter, and said the minor party was wrong in opposing uranium
exports to India.

"It really does put at risk our ability, in terms of
economic advantage, to restrict any trading opportunities we
may have," she said, adding "Just this blanket stop approach
to uranium going to India is wrong".

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said most
developed countries generated about 20 per cent of their
energy from nuclear power while India and China were only at 3
per cent. "So clearly the industry`s going to grow," he said.

PTI