Nuclear Export Controls

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regulates the international supply of nuclear materials for peaceful purposes but does not provide specific guidance on the goods and technology to be controlled. Shortly after the entry into force of the NPT in 1970, multilateral consultations on nuclear export controls led to the establishment of two separate mechanisms for dealing with nuclear exports: the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). To ensure harmonisation of national-level controls, these bodies have agreed on lists of nuclear material, equipment and technology and nuclear dual-use items and technology to be subject to export controls. Australia is a member of both the NSG and Zangger Committee.

Australian Implementation of Nuclear Export Controls

Australia meets its NPT and Zangger Committee obligations and exercises its commitment to NSG export control guidelines through the following legislation:

  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987 - regulates nuclear material in Australia and is administered by the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) ;
  • Customs Act 1901 (Prohibited Exports) Regulations - prescribes prohibited exports and is administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service; and
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention and Proliferation) Act 1995 - covers exports not controlled under the Customs Act which may contribute to weapons of mass destruction programs and is administered by the Department of Defence.

For more information on Australia's Uranium Export Policy please see the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) page.

Last Updated: 7 December 2012