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News > Australia

AUKUS Nuclear Submarine Deal Poses Risk to Global Security

  • Australian PM Anthony Albanese (L), US President Joe Biden (C) and British PM Rishi Sunak (R), in San Diego, California, March 13, 2023.

    Australian PM Anthony Albanese (L), US President Joe Biden (C) and British PM Rishi Sunak (R), in San Diego, California, March 13, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @defense_news

Published 3 August 2023

Rooted in a U.S. model of "great power competition," the AUKUS deal prompts a nuclear submarine arms race.

The AUKUS nuclear submarine deal poses a serious risk to regional and global security, according to a joint report released on Wednesday by the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and Russia's Center for Energy and Security Studies.


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The report, called "The AUKUS submarine deal: risks for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and global security", shows that under the trilateral AUKUS alliance, announced in September 2021, Australia can build nuclear-powered submarines with technology provided by the United States and the United Kingdom.

The AUKUS deal involves the transfer of up to four tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium from the United States and Britain, two nuclear-weapon states, to Australia, a non-nuclear-weapon state.

The AUKUS strategic military cooperation is unprecedented and goes against the goals and spirit of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), may inflict severe damage on the international non-proliferation regime and the NPT itself.

The AUKUS submarine cooperation "exploits an important lacuna of the non-proliferation regime and reduces political and moral barriers to nuclear proliferation," the report states, adding that it also poses challenges to the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Possible attempts of behind-the-scenes discussions between the parties to AUKUS and the IAEA Secretariat can lead to the politicization of the Secretariat and erode the overall trust in the IAEA," the report notes.

The AUKUS deal, rooted in a U.S. model of 'Great Power Competition'," brings fresh uncertainties to regional and global security by stimulating some non-nuclear-weapon states' interest in nuclear weapon options and prompting arms race and possibly nuclear submarine arms race.

The IAEA members and the IAEA Board of Governors should be involved in ensuring a reliable and effective arrangement for the AUKUS deal in favor of the NPT and non-proliferation regime.

The report also calls on all countries to uphold the international non-proliferation regime, specifically to address the risks of the AUKUS deal through open and inclusive dialogue and cooperation.

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