Troubled Waters: nuclear submarines

Jan 12, 2022 | News

In September 2021 the Australian, UK and US heads of state announced a new partnership “AUKUS” and their intention to assist nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. The Australian Government is currently undergoing an 18-month scoping period on this proposal.

ICAN Australia has launched a new report ahead of the tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), postponed to August 2022, Troubled Waters: nuclear submarines, AUKUS and the NPT.

It is a critical time to consider carefully the implications of the nuclear submarine proposal for global efforts to safeguard nuclear materials, prevent nuclear proliferation and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Of key concern is the threat Australian nuclear submarines pose to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the broader safeguards regime and peace in our region. Further, Australian nuclear submarines would increase nuclear dangers and are an unnecessary, precedent-setting and retrograde step.

The report showcases a diversity of perspectives to assist your consideration of the proposal:

  • Trevor Findlay, The AUKUS submarine project and the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
  • Talei Luscia Mangioni, Pacific perspectives on proposed AUKUS nuclear-propelled submarines.
  • Richard Tanter, Nuclear-powered submarines for Australia – stepping back into the Anglosphere and into a new Asian arms race.
  • Monique Cormier, Implications for the international legal regime
  • Muhadi Sugiono, Indonesian concerns about the proposed AUKUS nuclear-propelled submarine deal

While the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that domestic nuclear weapons are not under consideration, his assurance does not provide enduring certainty of the government’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Australia’s ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons would.