Monday, April 03, 2006

Apply peacefully

Uranium: signed, sealed, to be delivered:

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says he has signed two agreements with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on supplying uranium to China.

The agreements, signed following a meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister John Howard, cover nuclear transfer and nuclear co-operation.

"These agreements will allow for the supply of Australian uranium to China's nuclear power program, and co-operation in peaceful uses of nuclear technology," Mr Downer said in a statement.

"These agreements establish strict safeguards arrangements and conditions to ensure [that] Australian uranium supplied to China, and any collaborative programs in applications of nuclear technology, is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.

"These agreements are consistent with Australia's long-term policy of applying safeguards and restrictions on uranium exports.

"The agreements also further build on and consolidate 25 years of development of safeguards requirements since agreements with other nuclear weapon states were first negotiated."

Uranium for everyone! Woo-hoo!

So Australia takes the money and runs, eh? Trouble is, the old duck and cover-in the event of a nuclear attack-routine has proven to be next to useless. I wonder if there's room in Howard's bunker at Kirribili?