WASHINGTON (CN) – The United States will not use nuclear material from Australia to produce tritium for use in nuclear bombs or any other military purpose, according to new rules adopted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The regulations are required by a 2010 agreement between the two countries, limiting trade in nuclear material to peaceful uses.
Under the agreement, prohibited uses include “military nuclear propulsion; munitions, including depleted uranium munitions,” and “explosive devises.”
While Australia has neither nuclear weapons nor power generation, it boasts the world’s largest reserves of uranium with 23 percent of known worldwide reserves, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Unlike neighboring New Zealand, which banned nuclear armed or powered ships from entering that nation’s waters, Australia remains a full member of the military alliance created by the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty, allowing U.S. nuclear ships to traverse Australian controlled waters and dock at its ports.
Australia ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1973 and since 1977 has prohibited the diversion of any of its exported uranium to military purposes.