Webinar: Nuclear Submarines - Who Will Get Them Next? - Multilateral Dialogue Vienna
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One element of the recently formed AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) alliance is to equip the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with US Virginia-class or UK Astute-class nuclear-powered general purpose (attack) submarines (SSNs) with conventionally-armed Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAMs). The IAEA’s NPT related nuclear safeguards (verification) contain a “grey area” or “loophole” allowing non-nuclear-weapon States to exempt naval nuclear fuel and reactors from IAEA safeguards, thus creating for the IAEA a gap in safeguards coverage and loss of continuity of knowledge about large quantities of weapon-grade uranium in the naval nuclear fuel cycle.
Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, South Korea and others in the future may also decide to acquire SSNs? How will the IAEA deal with the “non-application of safeguards on non-peaceful/non-proscribed military activities”, what are the implications of the spread of SSNs armed with cruise missiles to non-nuclear-weapon States, what are the implications for the NPT and strategic stability – these and related issues were examined by experts in the field, Rear Admiral John Gower CB OBE, Sharon Squassoni and Tariq Rauf.