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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 2000-2001

Outlook: The Year Ahead

The outlook for further progress in multilateral arms control, in the short term at least, is not encouraging. The decision by the US in late 2000 not to ratify the CTBTis unlikely to be reversed in the near future. The prospects for the negotiations on the BWCaimed at strengthening that Convention are uncertain, and there is continuing stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament on commencement of negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut‑off Treaty (FMCT).

In the area of nuclear safeguards, further effort needs to go into encouraging the conclusion of Additional Protocols, so as to achieve universal acceptance of strengthened safeguardswithin a reasonable time frame. ASNOs contribution to this effort will include outreach activities to assist countries in our region to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol. ASNO will continue to work closely with the IAEA and our counterpart organisations in the further development of strengthened and integrated safeguards, particularly through the Australian Safeguards Support Program, and through a substantial involvement in SAGSI.[1] ASNO will follow closely worldwide developments in nuclear fuel cycle technology, with regard to non-proliferation and safeguards implications.

In collaboration with the IAEA, and with AusAID funding, ASNO will present a regional safeguards trainingcourse in Australia, particularly to assist the DPRK. This training will support the IAEAs work in the DPRK as that country moves towards full compliance with its safeguards agreement in accordance with the Agreed Framework. Several other regional states have registered for this course.[2]

While the commencement of FMCT negotiations remains stalled, a number of states are considering a series of workshops and other activities, in order to progress development of technical verification aspects. It is hoped this will help raise awareness of these issues among the members of the Conference on Disarmament, and demonstrate that a substantial degree of agreement is possible on major elements of the FMCT regime. This is expected to continue as a major area of activity for ASNO.

The initial phase of the international review of the CPPNMis now complete. ASNO expects that follow-up work to draft a well-defined amendment will start in the coming year and it will participate in the technical and legal experts drafting group when that body is established.

ASNO will work closely with ANSTO on physical protectionaspects of the replacement research reactor project and with ARPANSAin its licensing processes.

As Australias national authority for the CWC, ASNO will collect national information for, and make declarations to, the OPCW, while facilitating OPCW inspections of relevant facilities in Australia. Similarly, it will strive to strengthen the CWC verification regime, inter alia, by helping to resolve outstanding technical implementation issues, particularly those affecting industry.

Despite the setback to prospects for the early entry-into-force of the CTBT, reinforcement of the norm against the testing of nuclear weapons remains a very high priority for Australia. ASNO will be supporting the efforts of DFAT in encouraging signature and ratificationof the CTBT. ASNO will work to ensure that Australias CTBT commitments are met, primarily by coordinating the establishment and operation of Australian stations in the Treatys International Monitoring System. ASNO will continue its significant contribution to development of procedures for the conduct of On-site Inspections under the Treaty.

On the proposed protocol for strengthening the BWC, ASNO will work closely with DFAT in developing options to achieve outcomes favourable to Australias security interests.

 

[1]. The Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementationjust outside the reporting period (in July 2001), ASNO's Director General, John Carlson, was appointed Chairman of SAGSI.

[2]. The course was held in Sydney and Canberra on 13-24 August 2001.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade