Nuclear safeguards: some Canadian questions about Australian policy

Australia Canada

Richard Leaver of Flinders University writes that the current regime of IAEA inspections in Nuclear Weapon States characterized by “discretionary and partial coverage of inspections, can have no future in a world aiming for nuclear disarmament.” Leaver seeks the “missing lessons” for Australian uranium export safeguards policy of Canada’s experience in supplying two Candu-6 reactors plus heavy water to China’s massive Qinshan complex. “To go straight to the point: given the abject gutting of Canada’s safeguards policy in China in 2002, why would one believe that Australian safeguards on uranium exports are anything more than another triumph of form over content?” Leaver concludes that “the nuclear suppliers that have commercially profited from dealings with the Nuclear Weapon States are most likely to be the raw materials suppliers – and they therefore bear a particular responsibility for raising the standard of these safeguards. In addition, they also have the point of leverage needed to do so.”

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