Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office: Annual Report 2012-13

Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation – Trial Shipment of Australian Uranium

Three years on from the entry into force of the Australia–Russia nuclear cooperation agreement in November 2010, Australia and Russia's collaboration on these matters continues to grow. Through 2012–13, ASNO officers worked closely with officers from the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation 'Rosatom' to trial the first shipment of Australian uranium to Russia.

The trial shipment of uranium ore concentrate from an Australian mine departed Australia in September 2012 and arrived at the seaport of St. Petersburg in November 2012. The trial shipment enabled the Australian producer to test commercial and transport arrangements. In addition, it enabled Australian and Russian government officials to ensure that there was a common understanding of the administrative arrangements underpinning the nuclear cooperation agreement.

The consignment of Australian uranium ore concentrate upon arrival in the seaport of St. Petersburg in November 2012 (Photo: Russian State Atomic Energy Company 'Tenex')

The consignment of Australian uranium ore concentrate upon arrival in the seaport of St. Petersburg in November 2012 (Photo: Russian State Atomic Energy Company 'Tenex')

Australian officers from ASNO and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism worked closely with officers from the Australian producer, and in turn with Rosatom officers. All parties involved worked to ensure that all relevant transportation, logistical and administrative arrangements were implemented effectively. This was not an easy task as arrangements needed to take into account a number of safeguards, safety and physical security considerations. However, the attention to detail and positive attitude of all parties involved ensured that the shipment took place smoothly.

As is the case for all Australian uranium that is exported, the shipment to Russia will enter the civil nuclear fuel cycle and will eventually be converted, enriched and fabricated into fuel for the production of electricity by civil nuclear reactors and for related research and development. The successful implementation of the Australia–Russia nuclear cooperation agreement provides Australian uranium producers with access to the expanding Russian market.

On 25–26 March 2013, officials from ASNO and Russia met in Canberra for bilateral consultation on the implementation of the Australia–Russia nuclear cooperation agreement. These consultations enabled officials to review the arrangements as implemented. ASNO looks forward to continuing our close cooperation with Rosatom officials.

ASNO and Russian officials from the State Atomic Energy Corporation 'Rosatom', Russian nuclear facilities and the Russian Embassy in Canberra at a bilateral consultation held in Canberra on 25–26 March 2013 (Photo: ASNO)

ASNO and Russian officials from the State Atomic Energy Corporation 'Rosatom', Russian nuclear facilities and the Russian Embassy in Canberra at a bilateral consultation held in Canberra on 25–26 March 2013 (Photo: ASNO)