Nuclear Trade and Security
Nuclear Exports and Safeguards
All of Australia's uranium is exported for exclusively peaceful purposes, and only to countries and parties with which Australia has a bilateral nuclear cooperation (safeguards) agreement. These agreements ensure that Australia's nuclear exports are handled in a manner consistent with Australia’s uranium export policy.
Australia's network of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements complements and builds upon the IAEA's safeguards regime. They establish treaty-level conditions on the use of all nuclear material exported from Australia.
IAEA safeguards are generally not concerned with origin attribution. Australia's bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements serve as a mechanism to apply specific conditions on Australian Obligated Nuclear Material (AONM) which are additional to IAEA safeguards, for instance, with regard to retransfers, high enrichment and reprocessing. Each of Australia's bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements is supplemented by its own Administrative Arrangement, a confidential document of less than treaty status between Australia and the other country which establishes procedures to ensure the smooth implementation of the provisions of the bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.
Australia's safeguards policy also involves the careful selection of countries which are eligible to receive Australian uranium exports. In the case of NPT non-nuclear-weapon states, they must be subject to IAEA fullscope safeguards (i.e. IAEA safeguards apply to all existing and future nuclear activities). In the case of NPT nuclear-weapon states, there must be a treaty level assurance that AONM will only be used for peaceful purposes, and that AONM will be covered by IAEA safeguards. In the case of India, a nuclear weapon possessor state not party to the NPT, IAEA safeguards are applied to all of India's civil nuclear facilities and these are the only Indian facilities that can use Australian uranium.
The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), besides acting as Australia's national safeguards authority - responsible for Australia's NPT safeguards agreement with the IAEA - also operates Australia's system of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements, and accounts for nuclear material through administering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987