The Russo–Ukrainian War has raised concerns in the arms control community about potential nuclear use and the tremendous strain on the global nonproliferation regime. But the year-old AUKUS (Australia–United Kingdom–United States) nuclear submarine deal has already set a dangerous precedent for states seeking nuclear weapons. A loophole in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will be exercised for the first time through AUKUS, has raised the risk of proliferation and could be used clandestinely by non-nuclear states to build weapons.
Australia, a signatory to the NPT, will become the first non-nuclear weapons state to acquire nuclear-powered submarines (SSN). Until now, only declared nuclear weapon states under the NPT (which includes the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France) and India (which is not a signatory to the NPT) operated SSNs. Thanks to the AUKUS deal, however, Australia will exploit a loophole in the treaty that allows member states to remove nuclear fissile material from the inspection mechanism of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Läs artikel