PM must act on concerns Australian uranium in Ukraine could be used for Russian nuclear weapons

9 March 2022

The Electrical Trades Union of Australia is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take action over Australian uranium in Ukraine, which could be seized by Russia and used to fuel its nuclear weapons arsenal.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the ETU highlights its concerns over Australian obligated nuclear material (AONM) which has been transferred to Ukraine under the Australian-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

As the Australian Government has an obligation to create a contingency plan for the removal of nuclear material if it is at risk of a loss of regulatory control, the ETU is urging the Prime Minister to reveal:

  • If the contingency plan has been enacted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent takeover of nuclear power stations
  • If AONM transferred to Ukraine is currently stored or housed in Ukraine; and
  • What The Australian Government’s obligation are in the event of Australian uranium in Ukraine being compromised.

The ETU is also calling on The Australian Government to permanently rescind the Australian-Russian Federation Agreement on Cooperation in the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes which has been suspended since 2014.

“Amongst many other horrors, the war in Ukraine is painfully highlighting the inherent problems with nuclear power,” said ETU National Assistant Secretary Michael Wright.

“If Russia is able to gain control of Australian uranium in Ukraine, the fallout could be catastrophic.

“Australians have a right to know if Australian uranium is at risk and what our nation’s obligations are in the event of an incident.

“We not only have an obligation under our own Agreement with Ukraine but we owe it to the global community to ensure these materials are protected – preferably by leaving them in the ground.”

Read more of the latest ETU media releases…

This article was publised on 10 March 2022.