Output 1.3: Bilateral Safeguards

Nuclear material and associated items exported from Australia under bilateral agreements remain in exclusively peaceful use and obligations under nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs) are effectively implemented.

Performance Measures

  • AONM is accounted for in accordance with the procedures and standards prescribed under relevant bilateral agreements.
  • NCAs are effectively implemented and administrative arrangements are reviewed and revised as necessary to ensure their continuing effectiveness.

Signature text of the Australia-UK Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

Performance Assessment

Australian Obligated Nuclear Material

On the basis of reports from bilateral treaty partners, other information and analysis, ASNO concluded that all AONM is satisfactorily accounted for. Details are provided in Table 13.

Based on ASNO's analysis of reports and other information from counterparts on AONM located overseas, ASNO concludes that no AONM was used for non-peaceful purposes in 2018.

The then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and then High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings signing the Australia-UK Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, August 2018.

Table 13: Summary of net accumulated AONM by category, quantity and location at 31 December 201829
Depleted Uranium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, United States 135,893
Natural Uranium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, United States, India 28,583
Uranium in Enrichment Plants China, European Union, Japan, United States 28,348
Low Enriched Uranium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States 19,026
Irradiated Plutonium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States 200
Separated Plutonium European Union, Japan 1.6
TOTAL 212,052

The end-use for all AONM is for the production of electric power in civil nuclear reactors and for related research and development. AONM cannot be used for any military purpose.

Table 14: Supply of Australian uranium by region during 201831
Asia 0 0
Europe 4,375 62
North America 2,671 38
TOTAL 7,046 100
Table 15: Summary of AONM Transfers during 2018 32
Conversion Canada 1,233
European Union 3,694
United States 719
Enrichment European Union 813
Fuel Fabrication Republic of Korea 32
Japan 33
United States 142
European Union 4
Reactor Switzerland 11
European Union 0.4
Reprocessing33 European Union 0.5

The shipper's weight for each UOC consignment is entered on ASNO's record of AONM. These weights, subject to amendment by measured Shipper/Receiver Differences, are the basic source data for ASNO's system of accounting for AONM in the international nuclear fuel cycle. ASNO notifies each export to the safeguards authorities in relevant countries. In every case, those safeguards authorities confirmed to ASNO receipt of the shipment. ASNO also notified the IAEA of each export to non-nuclear weapon States pursuant to Article 35(a) of Australia's Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, as well as to nuclear-weapon States under the IAEA's Voluntary Reporting Scheme. Countries which received these exports also report the receipts to the IAEA.

Bilateral Agreements


Reports from ASNO's counterpart organisations were received in a timely fashion enabling efficient analysis and reconciliation with ASNO's records. Figures provided in Table 13 and Table 15 are based on ASNO's analysis of all available information at the time of publication.

There has been a successful first year of operation of the new Nuclear Material Balance and Tracking (NUMBAT) database in relation to the approval of shipments to transfer UOC internationally. The online portal allows mines to directly submit shipments for approval to ASNO, and for ASNO to approve shipments without the use of paper forms. This has led to streamlined approvals and communications with permit holders and domestic and international counterparts.

Australia-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation

The Australia-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) entered into force on 15 June 2017. An associated Administrative Arrangement (AA) has since been concluded. The NCA became operational on 18 September 2018, when the AA was signed by ASNO, Dr Robert Floyd, and the Chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, Mr Hryhorii Plachkov on the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna. Commercial transfers of Australian obligated nuclear material to Ukraine can now occur.

DG ASNO and the Chair of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine signing the Administrative Arrangement for the Australia-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

Implications of Brexit and the United Kingdom leaving Euratom

In anticipation of the UK's planned withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and Euratom, a new bilateral Australia-UK nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in August 2018. Australia's domestic treaty-making processes have been completed and it is ready to enter into force. Australia and the UK have also finalised the associated Administrative Arrangement.

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). Once the new bilateral Australia-UK Agreement enters into force, cooperation between Australia and other Euratom member states will continue under the Australia-Euratom Agreement.

The updated Australia-UK NCA will continue to require Australian uranium to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, be subject to IAEA safeguards, and be protected by internationally agreed standards of physical protection.

Implementation of the Australia-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

The Australia-India NCA entered into force on 13 November 2015 and the Civil Nuclear Transfers to India Act 2016 commenced on 8 December 2016.

In April 2019, ASNO visited its counterparts from the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in Mumbai for meetings of the Australia-India Joint Committee. The meetings were constructive, and concentrated on the effective implementation of the Australia-India NCA. ASNO representatives also visited the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) in Mumbai. BRIT is a unit of DAE and analyses the uses of radioisotope applications and radiation technology across sectors such as industry, healthcare and agriculture.

Meeting of the Joint Committee under the Australia-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

Bilateral and multilateral engagement on Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

ASNO has continued to liaise closely with bilateral counterparts within our network of nuclear cooperation agreements to ensure the effective operation of the Agreements. This has included bilateral meetings with counterparts from China, the Czech Republic, France, Euratom, India, and the UK.

In 2019–20, ASNO will continue to engage our bilateral and multilateral counterparts to facilitate BSS' tracking and reporting obligations. ASNO is undertaking a stocktake of the various arrangements to identify ways to modernise and simplify reporting, communication protocols and streamlining AA text with our counterparts to ensure the practical implementation of Australia's nuclear cooperation agreements is as efficient as possible.

Meeting between ASNO and the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety

29 Figures are based on yearly reports to ASNO in accordance with Australia’s bilateral agreements and other information held by ASNO.

30 All quantities are given as tonnes weight of the element uranium or plutonium. The isotope weight of 235U is 0.711 per cent of the element weight for natural uranium and from one to five per cent for low enriched uranium.

31 Export destinations for Australian uranium are decided by commercial factors including the availability of conversion capacity and customer preferences.

32 Figures are for transfers completed between jurisdictions from 1 January to 31 December 2018

33 Resultant from the export of spent fuel assemblies from Australia’s OPAL reactor to France (refer Output 1.2)