Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Growing pressure for Australia to scrap the plan for nuclear submarines fuelled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

Experts warn Joe Biden supplying nuclear submarines to Australia threatens US security

Malcolm Turnbull says reactor not a ‘plug and play’ power pack as former US officials raise national security concerns, Guardian   Tory Shepherd, Fri 8 Oct 2021  Malcolm Turnbull says reactor not a ‘plug and play’ power pack as former US officials raise national security concerns.

There is growing pressure on the new Aukus partners to scrap plans to use weapons-grade uranium on submarines.

A group of former US officials and experts has written to the US president, Joe Biden, warning the deal could threaten US national security by encouraging hostile nations to obtain highly enriched uranium (HEU).

At the same time, the former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says if Australia does buy the submarine reactors without a domestic nuclear industry – and therefore the nuclear expertise – it will be “more plug and pray” than “plug and play”.

The former Nato deputy secretary general Rose Gottemoeller has called on Australia to make a new deal with France to use their uranium, which is not weapons grade. That would heal the rift with France and ease nuclear proliferation fears, she said.

In the letter to Biden, the seven signatories called on him to commit to using low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is what the French use in their submarine program.

“The Aukus deal to supply Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines fuelled with weapons-grade uranium could have serious negative impacts on the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and thereby on US national security,” wrote the group, which includes former White House officials.

At the heart of their concern is that if Australia, as a non-nuclear country, gets HEU then other countries would use that example to justify their own acquisition of the material.

Iranian officials intimated to the UN that, like Australia, they might want HEU for naval purposes.

France described Australia’s decision to ditch the $90bn submarine project in favour of the Aukus deal as a “stab in the back”, while Australia has argued that switching to nuclear-propelled submarines is strategically necessary.

There will now be an 18-month process to work out the details of the deal, which has come under heavy criticism.

Turnbull told Guardian Australia that the government should have stuck with the French deal, bought an initial three diesel-electric boats, then switched to their LEU technology.

That would be the “honest and straightforward” course, and would speed up the process because crews would already train in a very similar boat.

“(And) we wouldn’t have double-crossed France and destroyed people’s trust in Australia,” he added.

He said one of the reasons Australia had chosen France over Germany and Japan was the possibility of transitioning to nuclear……………

 Morrison has said Australia won’t need a nuclear industry because the reactor will be made overseas then put into the Australian-built boat.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/08/experts-warn-joe-biden-supplying-nuclear-submarines-to-australia-threatens-us-security

October 9, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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