nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

It’s unfortunate that the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal looks like weakening global nuclear non proliferation.

Limiting the nuclear-proliferation blowback from the AUKUS submarine deal, The Strategist, 21 Sep 2021|Anastasia Kapetas  If the  If the architects of the AUKUS pact and its headline initiative to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines imagined it would be seen as proliferation neutral, the reality might not be so straightforward. The announcement was extremely sketchy on many critical details, particularly from a non-proliferation perspective.

Of course, how nuclear non-proliferation issues are addressed isn’t the sole test of this deal, but it will be part of managing its future trajectory. It’s notable that the State Department doesn’t seem to have been in the loop on negotiations. It has carriage of US non-proliferation commitments, so some of the proliferation consequences may not have been front of mind.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the deal will comply with Australia’s international non-proliferation commitments. That’s true, as there’s a massive loophole in Article III of the United Nations Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that exempts naval reactors from nuclear safeguards. However, the non-proliferation community has long seen the loophole as a major threat to one of the treaty’s key aims—to limit the production and use of highly enriched uranium (HEU), which can be used to make nuclear weapons………

There could also be implications for negotiations on the proposed fissile material cut-off treaty, historically supported by Australia, which aims to strictly limit the amount of fissile material that nucelar-weapon states can manufacture. Negotiations are locked in a stalemate, largely thanks to Pakistan. Nonetheless, the treaty’s goals have broad international support and the manufacture of more weapons-grade uranium to power Australia’s submarines will likely also set those goals back.

There seems to be an emerging consensus in the global arms-control community that the AUKUS submarine deal could have a hugely negative effect on non-proliferation norms and practices. Depending on how Washington responds, this could have an impact on how the program unfolds.

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, says that the deal ‘will further intensify the arms race in the region and dynamics that fuel military competition’. Pointing to the sparse strategic rationale offered so far, he adds, ‘Other than fielding more and better weapons, does anyone have a plan?’

Similar views have rippled across non-proliferation and arms-control circles, driven by fears that the deal will set a precedent ushering in a dangerous era of loosened nuclear restraints.

Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association, points out that if Australia gets a HEU submarine like the US Virginia class, it will be the first non-nuclear-weapon state to have such a capability.

What will Washington say to other allies, such as Israel, that might want the same technology? ………..

The US and Australia both recognise the importance of strengthening global rules and the institutions that allow existential nuclear-proliferation issues to be mediated. Conventional nuclear and military deterrence might make state adversaries think twice before using nuclear weapons, but it’s of little use in stopping acquisition and the attendant risks of catastrophic miscalculation.   https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/limiting-the-nuclear-proliferation-blowback-from-the-aukus-submarine-deal/?fbclid=IwAR2TrXJx7UbCJUDBUCMzhGJ0i_RFC188XE1Xotq9b-hP

October 11, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: