Australias Uranium Will Fuel Chinese Bombs

April 2, 2006

Friends of the Earth Australia

People for Nuclear Disarmament NSW

People for Nuclear Disarmament WA Australian Peace Committee

AUSTRALIAS URANIUM WILL FUEL CHINESE BOMBS

 

Australian peace and environment groups say it is inevitable that Australian uranium, if exported to China, will fuel Chinese nuclear weapons. If Australia is serious about its nuclear nonproliferation concerns, our uranium should stay in the ground.

China has the world's  largest  nuclear weapons program after those of the US and Russia, with approximately 450 warheads. Of that 450 warheads, some 20 have long been mounted on long- range Dong-Feng 5 missiles. That number is now growing as China upgrades its nuclear deterrent force in response to US and other threats.

According to Australian Peace and Environment groups:

"It is inevitable  that actual atoms of Australian uranium will  end up in Chinese nuclear weapons. Once you put Australian uranium on the boat to China, you can't say it won't be used in China's bombs."

"China, like the US, the UK, Russia,and France, started its whole nuclear program as a military program.  China’s reprocessing and enrichment infrastructure is entirely military. When uranium is converted to uranium hexaflouride (UF6) to be enriched, it loses its separate identity and goes into a 'pool' of UF6. There is just no way to separate it. Practices such as 'flag swapping,' 'identity swapping' and 'safeguards  swapping', whereby uranium changes its nationality and safeguards obligations at the flick of a traders or brokers mouse, simply compound the problem."

"There is no way, but no way, that Australian uranium can be kept out of China's nuclear weapons program any more than it can be kept out of the nuclear weapons programs of France, the US, Russia, or the UK, to whom we also export."

"The antinuclear movement has argued for decades that the nuclear industry and uranium mining is contributing to the risk of nuclear proliferation. Way back in 1977, the Ranger inquiry made exactly that point."

"Now however, we are suddenly faced with the most extreme concern about the 'dodgy' nuclear programs of some countries - and yet no concern whatsoever about those of other nations. We are asked to be scared to death of Iran with no nuclear weapons at all, but we talk about selling uranium to China with 450 warheads and long- range missiles, to India who have gone right to the brink with nuclear -armed Pakistan, and we already sell it to France with 400 warheads, and to the USA with 5-10.000 warheads depending how you count them. What we are applying is not so much a double- standard as an upside-down standard."

"If we are serious about nuclear nonproliferation we should keep uranium in the ground."

Contact:

John Hallam FOE-A Nuclear weapons Campaigner 

61-2-9810-2598  02-9319-4296

Cameron Schraner PND-NSW  0415-202060  02-9319-4296

Jo Vallentine PND-WA, 08-9272-4252
Sue Gilbey APC 0411-413-122