Illusion of Protection - the unavoidable limitations of safeguards on nuclear materials and the export of uranium to China

Nuclear energy Australia China

This detailed study outlines the reasons why exporting Australian uranium to other nations, particularly those with nuclear weapons programs, is a dangerous gamble. It offers 11 core recommendations to the government and industry, beginning with "Australia should stop its contribution to the global nuclear chain by phasing out mining and export of uranium." The report provides a background on the history and current status of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament measures internationally as well as an overview of the history of Australia's record with safeguards. It goes on to explore the current international safeguards systems, how they are designed to work and the inherent difficulties and flaws in them. It also profiles the attempts of the IAEA to strengthen safeguards through Additional Protocols and the problems they face. The final chapter looks in detail at the China question. It examines the bilateral agreements between Australia and China, China's record with nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation as well as the potential for nuclear modernisation and conflict within the region, and considers the Chinese energy strategy. Although the report makes a case specifically against sales of Australian uranium to China, the lessons and problems outlined are applicable to any plans to sell uranium to India or any other state with nuclear weapons programs or ambitions. The report has been prepared by a number of academics (including experts from Melbourne University, La Trobe University and Monash University) and experts in the anti-nuclear non-government organisations (including MAPW, ACF and the Beyond Nuclear Initiative) The foreword was written by Dr Frank Barnaby of the Oxford Research Group in the UK.

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