Australia is satisfied with the safeguards India has in place to allow the export of uranium to the nuclear-armed nation, Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is due to arrive in India on Thursday for his first visit to the country since assuming power a year ago and is expected to sign a deal clinching the export of uranium.
Work on an agreement has been under way for several years as Canberra attempts to strengthen ties with the fast-growing and energy-hungry South Asian country.
But because India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, any exports have to be accompanied by guarantees the uranium will only be used for non-military purposes.
Asked what steps had been taken to make sure there were appropriate safeguards, Robb told ABC radio: “We have satisfied ourselves that the steps are in place.
“The negotiations and work that’s gone on between authorities in India and Australia have gone on for some years to develop a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement which meets the international requirements and we are satisfied, our officials are satisfied, that all the requirements have been met,” he added.
“And we are in a position, if that’s what comes about with the prime minister’s visit, to sign such a cooperation agreement.”
Australia does not use nuclear power but it is the world’s third-ranking uranium producer behind Kazakhstan and Canada.
In 2012-13 it exported 8,391 tonnes valued at Aus$823 million (US$765 million), with the United States, European Union, and Japan major markets.