The exchange of ratification notes by Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has brought a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries into force. Under the agreement, Australia can now start supplying uranium to fuel Russia's power reactors.
The two leaders exchanged the ratification notes during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, before the start of the latest G20 summit. During their meeting, Medvedev said, "To open a new page in relations, today is a good opportunity to exchange instruments of ratification of the agreement, which was previously agreed and accepted." He added, "It is perhaps not quite recognised diplomatic practice – sharing agreements, especially in Seoul – but it looks nice."
Gillard and Medvedev seal the deal in Seoul (Image: Kremlin.ru)
Gillard said that the exchange of the ratification notes "takes our relationship to a new level." She said, "The agreement will help Russia to meet its expanding energy needs as it seeks to reduce its greenhouse emissions by diversifying its energy sources and shifting away from a reliance on fossil fuels."
"It will increase export opportunities and create jobs for Australia's uranium suppliers and consolidates Australia's position as a reliable provider of energy resources."
She also noted that the agreement brought Australia's bilateral nuclear relationship with Russia into line with agreements in place with other countries, including the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.
The agreement was signed in Sydney in September 2007 by then Australian and Russian premiers John Howard and Vladimir Putin. The agreement was ratified by Russia's Council of Federation on 23 June 2010. Medvedev signed this ratification into law on 1 July 2010.
Under a previous agreement signed in 1990, Australian uranium could be processed in Russia in the interest of third countries only. Under the terms of the new agreement, nuclear material transferred between Australia and Russia can be used solely for peaceful, non-military purposes. This means that Russian power reactors will now be able to generate electricity with nuclear fuel made using Australian uranium.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News