PM Tony Abbott to sign Uranium deal with India

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to sign off on an agreement that would allow Australia to sell uranium to India – potentially doubling overall exports to a billion dollars annually by 2018 – when he meets his counterpart Narendra Modi in Mumbai  on his current trip to India and Malaysia from September 4-6, 2014.

India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Mr Abbott has stressed that Australia will ensure adequate safeguards, in the form of bilateral safeguards, before any deal is signed.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who will accompany Mr Abbott on the trip, said the officials had satisfied that “all the requirements have been met and we are in a position to sign if that’s what comes about with the Prime Minister’s visit”.

Toro Energy chief executive Vanessa Guthrie, who will be on the trip as part of a 31 member business delegation and whose Wiluna project in Western Australia could become the first uranium mine in the West after receiving environmental approval last year.

“We are anticipating that the Prime Minister is getting ready to do this; we don’t have confirmation at this point. It would be a similar agreement to what Canada currently has in place with India and other countries as well,” she said.

Ms Guthrie said such a deal would help bring power to the one third of India’s population that doesn’t have access to electricity, while also helping reduce carbon emissions in one of the world’s most populous countries.

Australia exports about 10,000 tonnes of uranium per year.  India has 19 nuclear power plants, with another six under construction and about 20 more planned.

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