The United Kingdom (UK) is an important destination for Australian uranium exports. Around a fifth of all Australian uranium exports are supplied to the UK, for use and/or processing on behalf of third countries within Australia’s network of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements.
In anticipation of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), a new bilateral Australia-UK nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in August 2018. The relevant Australian and UK Parliamentary processes have been completed for the Australia-UK Agreement and it is ready to enter into force. The Australia-UK Agreement will enter into force once the Australia-Euratom Agreement ceases to apply to the UK, and after the entry into force of the new bilateral Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol concluded between the UK and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The new Australia-UK Agreement will support the uninterrupted transfer of Australian uranium to the UK and smooth commercial operations for Australian uranium mining companies post-Brexit.
Australia has an existing 1979 bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with the UK. However, since 1982, when Australia entered into a nuclear cooperation agreement with Euratom, nuclear cooperation and transfers of nuclear material from Australia to the UK have occurred under an Australia-Euratom Agreement.
Once the new bilateral Australia-UK Agreement enters into force, cooperation will continue under that new bilateral agreement, and the 1979 Australia-UK Agreement will terminate. Cooperation between Australia and other Euratom member states will continue under the Australia-Euratom Agreement.
For further information on the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s dedicated webpage.