A co-operation agreement in the field of nuclear energy has been signed by Sergey Kiriyenko, the head of Russia’s Rosatom, and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that will see Australia supply uranium to Russia for processing and for use at its power plants.
Kiriyenko said that under the terms of the agreement Russia is ready to process 4,000 tonnes of Australian uranium a year saying: “The possible contracts we are negotiating now are about 4,000 tons of uranium a year, which is not far from 1,000,000,000 Australian dollars ($826 million).”
Kiriyenko added that the agreement will give Russia as much uranium as it wants, and will strongly enhance its uranium enrichment potential. The agreement may bring low-enriched uranium supply contracts with Japan worth $2 billion within 2008–2015, some $400 million with Europe, and $300 – $400 million with the United States, said Aleksey Grigoryev, acting director general of Russian uranium firm Techsnabexport (Tenex).
However, Grigoryev added: “We have made no natural uranium purchase contracts with Australia yet, we just have a framework agreement.”
The agreement also states that Russia may provide Australia with technological assistance if it decides to develop its own nuclear power sector.
The parliaments of both countries are expected to ratify the agreement by mid-2008.