June 2022 Board of Governors Meeting
Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States are firmly committed to continuing to engage openly and transparently with all IAEA Member States on the nuclear non-proliferation aspects of our consultations towards determining the optimal pathway for Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines.
As we have reiterated on many occasions, this endeavour will continue to be undertaken in a manner that is fully consistent with our respective non-proliferation obligations and reflects our longstanding leadership in, and respect for, the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
It is the shared objective of AUKUS partners to set the highest possible nuclear non-proliferation standards, and to maintain Australia’s exemplary non-proliferation credentials. Ongoing open engagement is central to our approach.
In a joint statement on 6 April 2022, the leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States reiterated that they are fully committed to establishing a robust approach to sharing naval nuclear propulsion technology with Australia in a way that strengthens the integrity of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion activities, including verification of the non-diversion of nuclear material from Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program, will occur within the framework of Australia’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and its Additional Protocol (AP) with the IAEA. There is a firm legal basis for the IAEA, through the Director General and the Secretariat, to engage Australia, with the support of AUKUS partners, on these issues. The global nuclear nonproliferation regime relies on such engagement taking place.
Both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Australia’s CSA with the IAEA permit naval nuclear propulsion activities – as do other CSAs between other States and the IAEA.
Australia has voluntarily committed not to domestically enrich or reprocess nuclear material in support of its nuclear-powered submarine program.
For this June Board we are mindful of the imperative of Governors’ attention being focussed on several urgent and important developments, including the safety and security of civil nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
We discourage any disruptive action that impedes the important work before this Board or that threatens to undermine the authority and independence of the IAEA to consult with States on their respective safeguards agreements with the IAEA.
We will continue to work transparently with others to discourage politically-driven attempts to manipulate the Board’s agenda in relation to Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines. Such attempts distract from the genuine and pressing issues that demand this Board’s immediate attention.
AUKUS partners are committed to continuing to provide updates to the Board on significant developments related to AUKUS under ‘Any Other Business’.
We note the Director General has indicated that he will report to the Board as appropriate. We trust and expect that he will do so. That is his prerogative and consistent with established practice and the technical independence of the IAEA.