Australian news, and some related international items

Indonesia warns of perils of nuclear-powered submarines in submission to the UN

SMH, By Chris Barrett and Karuni RompiesJuly 29, 2022,

Singapore: Indonesia warns that the sharing of nuclear technology to power submarines could heighten the risk of new types of weapons of mass destruction emerging.

In a submission to next week’s United Nations nuclear non-proliferation review conference, Indonesia said the use of highly enriched uranium for naval propulsion was of growing concern.

It comes as a group of American non-proliferation experts have written to US President Joe Biden ahead of the meeting in New York, urging him to abandon plans to sell Australia eight submarines “fuelled with weapon-grade uranium”.

China will also bring up the AUKUS submarines deal at the conference, believing it to be a dangerous precedent and a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

While the submission does not reference the AUKUS deal, Indonesia, as well as Malaysia, have voiced anxiety about Australia’s desire to acquire nuclear-powered vessels after the pact with the US and UK was announced last September, worrying it could trigger an arms race.

In a draft working paper for next week’s UN meeting, Indonesia argues the sharing of nuclear technology and materials for military purposes may be counter to the spirit and objective of the NPT and “could potentially set precedence [sic] for other similar arrangements”…………………………………

In their letter to Biden, however, the US experts warned other US allies might seek the same arrangement as Australia and that countries might also pursue nuclear reactors from Russia, creating a “monitoring nightmare for the International Atomic Energy Agency”.

“We are not concerned that Australia might extract HEU from the submarine fuel to make nuclear weapons,” they said.

“Our concern is that providing Australia with HEU-fuelled naval reactors could allow other states to invoke .the AUKUS example to justify their own production or acquisition of HEU fuel.”.US assistant director for national security Frank von Hippel; and the US-headquartered Arms Control Association executive director Daryl Kimball – called on the US and UK to commit to developing naval reactors fuelled by low enriched uranium that can’t be used for nuclear weapons.


July 30, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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