Beijing today said that the AUKUS creation has abused loopholes in international law. At a regular briefing on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will guarantee and monitor Australian nuclear submarines.
“The IAEA guarantees and monitoring of Australian nuclear submarines will create a precedent which will affect rights and obligations of all NPT signatories and cause far-reaching consequences for the international non-proliferation regime,” said Hua Chunying.
“It is in no way an issue to be addressed by the IAEA Secretariat with Australia, the UK, and the US. It is a problem that should be settled by all states that participate in this mechanism,” she said.
IAEA on Nuclear Naval Propulsion proposal by AUKUS
On 16th September, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi was been informed by Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of an 18-month trilateral effort between these three countries “to identify the optimal pathway to support Australia’s acquisition of a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability for the Royal Australian Navy”.
As per the IAEA release, “the Director-General notes that the three countries have informed the IAEA at an early stage on this development. The IAEA will engage with them on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the Agency.”
An Australian nuclear fleet would need extensive and complex shore facilities, including one or more operating bases and at least one refit base. These bases would handle nuclear fuel and other radioactive materials and would therefore be potential sources of environmental contamination. It is not known if IAEA will monitor the nuclear propulsion of the Austrian Submarines.