15 Nov 2011

Lift ban on uranium exports to India - Gillard says

8:37 pm on 15 November 2011

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard says she would like her government to end its ban on exporting uranium to India.

The ban on the exports was introduced by the Australian Labour Party when it came to power in 2008 because India - which has nuclear weapons - was not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Ms Gillard called for the ban to be lifted in a newspaper column.

She wrote that it made no sense to sell nuclear material to China, Japan and the US, but not to India.

Ms Gillard added that it was time for Australia to strengthen its ties "with dynamic, democratic India".

The government in New Delhi has refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty, arguing it is discriminatory because only countries that had tested nuclear weapons before 1967 are allowed to legally possess them.

The BBC reports that despite this stand, the US recently signed a deal with India to co-operate on its civil nuclear programme.

Ms Gillard is likely to face stiff opposition to the ban being lifted from politicians on the left of her party, but is likely to have enough support to push the measure through.

India is planning to build around 30 reactors over the next 30 years with the aim of getting 25% of its electricity from nuclear energy by 2050.