The below statement was delivered by Australia on 14 September 2023 under agenda item 12: Any Other Business.
Thank you, Chair.
I have the honour of speaking on behalf of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
We thank Director General Grossi for his update in his written introductory statement to this Board on Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program. As the Director General noted, bilateral technical consultations between the IAEA and Australia on Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program are ongoing, including in relation to the development of an Article 14 arrangement. We remain fully committed to ensuring our approach meets the highest non-proliferation standard.
Colleagues will recall that, at the previous meeting of the Board, the Director General reported (in GOV/INF/2023/10) that Australia had submitted the required declarations under its CSA, AP, and Subsidiary Arrangements; the IAEA had conducted in-field verification activities, including a design information verification visit; and discussions on the technical aspects of an arrangement pursuant to Article 14 of Australia’s CSA had been initiated.
The Director General has confirmed the IAEA will develop a robust safeguards approach for Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program which will enable the Agency to continue to meet its technical safeguards objectives established for Australia.
Since the June Board meeting, Australia’s bilateral technical consultations with the IAEA have continued. These discussions encompass technical and legal aspects of an Article 14 arrangement for Australia, including in relation to possible verification and monitoring activities and voluntary transparency measures.
As has been confirmed by the Director General, these ongoing bilateral consultations are taking place on the basis that Australia’s Article 14 arrangement will not remove nuclear material from IAEA oversight.
Throughout the lifecycle of Australia’s program, the Agency will be able to continue to verify and conclude that there has been no diversion of declared nuclear material, no misuse of facilities, and no undeclared nuclear material or activities.
We wish to make clear that, contrary to what some delegations have suggested, we do not seek to impose a template or model Article 14 arrangement. When developing an Article 14 arrangement for Australia or another state, the Agency will need to account for state-specific factors.
The Director General has committed to transmitting the Article 14 arrangement, once developed, to the Board for appropriate action. As we have said previously, we fully support this approach.
AUKUS partners have already addressed during this Board meeting some of the more egregious disinformation we have heard from other delegations, and I do not intend to go over that again.
In line with our abiding commitment to transparency, however, we welcome the opportunity to update the Board and, as appropriate, we will continue to address genuine questions from interested delegations regarding our non-proliferation approach through this and other fora.
Thank you, Chair.