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.

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 15. 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 2019.

Table 15: Summary of net accumulated AONM by category, quantity and location at 31 December 2019 20
Category Location tonnes21
Total 218,591
Depleted Uranium Canada, China, European Union22, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, United States 137,959
Natural Uranium Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, United States 33,871
Uranium in Enrichment Plants China, European Union, Japan, United States 27,044
Low Enriched Uranium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States 19,507
Irradiated Plutonium Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States 208
Separated Plutonium European Union, Japan 1.5
Table 16: Supply of Australian uranium by region during 201923
Region tonnes UOC (U3O8) Percentage of Total
Total 8,198 100
Asia 0 0
Europe 1,234 15
North America 6,964 85
Table 17: Summary of AONM Transfers during 201924
Fuel cycle Stage Destination U (tonnes)
Conversion Canada 5,080
European Union 1,217
United States 540
Enrichment European Union 866
United States 6
Fuel fabrication European Union 19
Republic of Korea 70
United States 150
Reactor Switzerland 10

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.

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 Tables 16 and 17 are based on ASNO's analysis of all available information at the time of publication.

Implications of Brexit

The United Kingdom has formally left the European Union and entered into a transition period until 31 December 2020. A new Australia-United Kingdom NCA was signed in August 2018, which is ready to enter into force at the end of this transition period.

The Australia-United Kingdom NCA will enter into force once the Australia-Euratom NCA ceases to apply to the United Kingdom, and after the entry into force of the new bilateral Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol concluded between the United Kingdom and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Australia-United Kingdom 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.

Until the Australia-United Kingdom NCA enters into force, nuclear cooperation between Australia and the United Kingdom will continue under the Australia-Euratom NCA. Cooperation between Australia and other Euratom member states continues unaffected under the Australia-Euratom NCA.

Engagement on Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

ASNO representatives also participated in specialist meetings with regulatory authorities of like-minded nations to discuss common approaches to regulating and tracking obligated nuclear material. In September 2019, representatives from ASNO's Bilateral Safeguards Section participated in a Nuclear Cooperation Authorities Group meeting, hosted by the US Department of Energy in Washington DC.

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

21 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.

22 Euratom is the Atomic Energy Agency of the European Union. The Australia-Euratom NCA covers all 27 Member States of the European Union, and the United Kingdom until the end of the transition period.

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

24 Figures are for transfers completed between jurisdictions from 1 January to 31 December 2019.