Australian against exporting uranium, poll says, which could have consequences for Russia

Publish date: November 10, 2008

A new poll suggests a majority of Australians are against the export of uranium to countries that have nuclear weapons, pointing to the unpopularity of a multi-million dollar uranium import deal between Austrialia and Russia.

The Newspoll, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, surveyed 1200 people nationally last weekend, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Sixty-two per cent are against exporting uranium to countries with nuclear weapons and 40 per cent oppose its export for use in electricity generation.

The ACF’s David Noonan says the poll is aimed at giving the Government and mining companies an indication of people’s attitudes, said the ABC.

"We’re looking to put a lot of clear community expectations in the way of Rudd Labor Government considerations to signing on in future to the proposed Russian deal that [John] Howard and [former Russian president Vladimir] Putin put forward before the federal election," he said.

But the Uranium Association’s Simon Clarke says Australia does not export uranium to countries that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty, the ABC reported.

He says previous surveys have found that more than half the population support uranium being exported for peaceful purposes.

"For 30 years Australia has been exporting uranium for peaceful purposes, and in that time there has been no use of Australian uranium in nuclear weapons," Clarke said, according to the ABC.