All CISAC News News September 24, 2021

Australia will get nuclear-powered submarines. Some see a proliferation threat.

The new AUKUS security partnership led to an immediate diplomatic fallout between France and the United States. But beyond the concerns about NATO and the Western alliance, or questions about great-power competition in the Pacific, some analysts see another worry: Will sharing nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia set back the nuclear nonproliferation regime?
group of people on a submarine
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 2: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (fourth left), President of France Emmanuel Macron (second left), Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne (centre left), Australian Minister for Defence Marise Payne (centre) and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (right) are seen on the submarine HMAS Waller at Garden Island on May 2, 2018 In Sydney, Australia. Macron arrived in Australia on May 1 on a rare visit by a French president with the two sides expected to agree on greater cooperation in the Pacific to counter a rising China. Brendan Esposito - Pool/Getty Images

The new AUKUS security partnership led to an immediate diplomatic fallout between France and the United States. But beyond the concerns about NATO and the Western alliance, or questions about great-power competition in the Pacific, some analysts see another worry: Will sharing nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia set back the nuclear nonproliferation regime?

What does this deal mean for nonproliferation? Have such transfers of nuclear submarine technology occurred in the past? Here are four things to know.

Read the rest at The Washington Post