Government Reports

Nuclear Weapons

  • Surprise Down Under: The secret history of Australia’s nuclear ambition, Jim Walsh, The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1997. This paper examines how Australia pursued nuclear weapons from the mid-1950s until signing the NPT in 1973, first through attempted procurement and then by developing indigenous capacity.
  • The Re-emergence of an Australian nuclear weapons option? Richard Tanter, Austral Peace & Security Network, 29 October 2007. Nautilus-RMIT Director Richard Tanter examines the argument by Martine Letts of the Lowy Institute that, in certain circumstances, Australia might once again consider the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons. Leets replies.
  • Questioning Australia’s Beowulf Option, Rory Medcalf, Security Challenges, vol 4, no 2, Lowy Institute, Winter 2008. Responding to Prof. Ross Babbage’s call for Australia to develop an independent defense capability to deter an attack by one of the large Asian countries, the author argues, “any thorough discussion of Australia’s options for single-handedly fighting or deterring a nuclear-armed power needs to account for the nuclear dimension, and not solely by proposing the acquisition of (limited) ballistic missile defences.”
  • “The Impulse towards a Safer World”: 40th Anniversary of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, National Security Archives, 1 July 2008. Declassified U.S. documents detail how, during a visit to Australia in 1968 for an ANZUS (Australia-New Zealand-U.S. pact) meeting, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk discussed the NPT with Liberal Party Prime Minister John Gorton, who had strong objections to the notion of “giving up the nuclear option for a period as long as twenty-five years when [Australia] cannot know how the situation will develop in the area.”

US Embassy Cable to Dept. of State, 6 April 1968
US Embassy Cable to Dept. of State, 10 April 1968
State Dept. Cable to US Embassy Canberra, 11 April 1968
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Memo, 24 April 1968

Nuclear Power 

  • US Backs Howard’s Nuclear Vision, Geoff Elliot, The Australian, 17 August 2006. Dennis Spurgeon, assistant secretary for nuclear power at the US Department of Energy, said Australia and Canada were likely to be given special consideration to join a new nuclear suppliers club the US is trying to establish, despite the Bush administration’s pledge to prevent any new countries from acquiring the ability to enrich uranium.
  • Clean Energy Scenarios for Australia, Mark Diesendorf, Menzies Foundation, 23 August 2006.  In this powerpoint presentation, Diesendorf, of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales, lays out ways that Australia can cut its emissions to 50% of 2001 levels by 2040.
  • Australia, Uranium, and Nuclear Power, Jim Falk, Jim Green, and Gavin Mudd, University of Melbourne, 6 December 2006. This paper examines the debates over the future of nuclear power, uranium mining, and spent fuel management in Australia, arguing that the importance of making the right decisions cannot be exaggerated.


  • Uranium: Global market developments and prospects for Australian exports, William S. Mollard, Chris Rumley, Kate Penney and Robert Curtotti, Abare, November 2006. This report analyzes trends in the global supply and demand for uranium through 2030 and identifies the opportunities and challenges for Australia to increase its uranium exports. It emphasizes that an expansion of mining is needed in the short-term for Australia to maintain its share of the global market through 2015.
  • Uranium Enrichment, Jim Falk & Roger Bodman, energyscience, November 2006. Fact sheet on uranium enrichment.
  • Australian Uranium Exports to India and US-India Nuclear Deal, Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center (Japan), 1 October 2007. Letters from the head of the Australian chapter of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War to the Japanese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister asking Japan to oppose the US-India Nuclear deal, and letter from Japanese civil society organizations to the Australian Ambassador urging Australia not to export uranium to India.

Spent Fuel Storage

International Nuclear Waste Disposal Concepts. Uranium Information Centre, Briefing Paper 49, September 2006. There have been several proposals for regional and international repositories for disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. Russia has passed legislation to allow the import of high-level wastes, but appears unlikely to proceed with this. The European Commission is funding studies to to assess the feasibility of European regional waste repositories. Pangea Resources earlier identified a large area of outback Australia as having appropriate characteristics for deep geological disposal, and hence for such a repository.