Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Trade and Security

Nuclear Trade and Security

Nuclear Exports and Safeguards

Australia's Network of Nuclear Cooperation (Safeguards) Agreements

All of Australia's uranium is exported for exclusively peaceful purposes, and only to countries and parties with which Australia has a bilateral nuclear cooperation (safeguards) Agreement. These Agreements ensure that Australia's nuclear exports remain in exclusively peaceful use, and may only be retransferred to a party with a bilateral cooperation Agreement with Australia.

Australia's network of bilateral safeguards Agreements complements and builds upon the IAEA's safeguards regime. They establish treaty-level conditions on the use of all nuclear material exported from Australia.

IAEA safeguards are generally not concerned with origin attribution. Australia's bilateral cooperation Agreements serve as a mechanism to apply specific conditions on Australian Obligated Nuclear Material (AONM) which are additional to IAEA safeguards, for instance, with regard to retransfers, high enrichment and reprocessing. Each of Australia's bilateral cooperation Agreements is supplemented by its own Administrative Arrangement, a confidential document of less than treaty status between Australia and the other country which establishes procedures to ensure the smooth implementation of the provisions of the bilateral Agreement.

Australia's safeguards policy also involves the careful selection of countries which are eligible to receive Australian uranium exports. In the case of non-nuclear-weapon states, they must be subject to IAEA fullscope safeguards (i.e. IAEA safeguards apply to all existing and future nuclear activities). In the case of nuclear-weapon states, there must be a treaty level assurance that AONM will only be used for peaceful purposes, and that AONM will be covered by IAEA safeguards.

The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), besides acting as Australia's national safeguards authority - responsible for Australia's NPT safeguards Agreement with the IAEA - also operates Australia's system of bilateral nuclear cooperation Agreements, and accounts for nuclear material through administering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987

Australia currently has 22 bilateral nuclear cooperation Agreements in force covering 39 countries:
Country Date of Entry into Force
Republic of Korea (ROK) 2 May 1979
United Kingdom 24 July 1979
Finland 9 February 1980
Canada 9 March 1981
Sweden 22 May 1981
France 12 September 1981
Philippines 11 May 1982
Japan 17 August 1982
Switzerland 27 July 1988
Egypt 2 June 1989
Mexico 17 July 1992
New Zealand 1 May 2000
United States (covering cooperation on Silex Technology) 24 May 2000
Czech Republic 17 May 2002
USA covering supply to Taiwan, China 17 May 2002
Hungary 15 June 2002
Argentina 12 January 2005
People’s Republic of China2 3 February 2007
Russian Federation 11 November 2010
United States of America 22 December 2010
Euratom2 1 January 2012

Notes:

  1. Australia has two agreements with China, one covering nuclear material transfers and one covering nuclear cooperation.
  2. Euratom is the atomic energy agency of the European Union. The Euratom agreement covers all 27 member states.

The above list does not include Australia’s NPT safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, concluded on 10 July 1974. In addition to the above Agreements, Australia also has an Exchange of Notes constituting an Agreement with Singapore Concerning Cooperation on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, which entered into force on 15 December 1989.

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