Security Challenges
Volume 9, No.4 (2013)

The Potential for a Regional Uranium Enrichment Centre in Australia

Australia has the world’s largest uranium reserves—one third of the world total—and is part of the Asia-Pacific region, the region of largest growth in nuclear power utilisation. Accordingly, Australia seems well placed to become a major supplier of uranium enrichment services in the future. This is not simply a commercial issue, but could help advance non-proliferation objectives. Uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology—a country with a national enrichment program has the potential to use this for producing nuclear weapons. Increasing awareness of this proliferation risk has prompted efforts to develop a new international framework for nuclear energy, emphasising international cooperation as an alternative to national fuel cycle programs. A multilaterally-based enrichment centre in Australia, with regional participation, could obviate further national enrichment programs in the region and would be a significant step towards establishing multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle as a global norm.

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