vows to protect US nuclear ‘crown jewels’


Canberra promised critical submarine technology under 2021 security pact with Washington and London

Australia has insisted it will keep US nuclear propulsion technology under lock and key after gaining access to sensitive information, with Canberra’s envoy in Washington promising the US “crown jewels.”

Outgoing Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos told an audience at a US think tank on Thursday that much progress has been made on the triple AUKUS deal signed in 2021 between the US, Australia and the UK, details of which will be revealed. unveiled later this month.

“The mere fact that Americans are willing to share their crown jewels with us implies that progress must be made in the seamless transfer of technology. None of us want this to get stuck.” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

“And I think that state of mind has now permeated different levels of the [US] administration,” Sinodino added.

While the details of the submarine technology transfer have not been made public, Sinodinos stated that Australia has “insured Americans” and demonstrated “the kind of information protection measures we put in place to make sure they understand their technology is safe in terms of leakage to third parties.”

The US maintains strict export controls on certain military hardware, which has created obstacles to past arms transfers abroad. Sinodinos suggested Australia could get an exemption under US regulations, saying “it’s being worked on” But “it is not finished yet.”

In December, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with his British and Australian counterparts to further develop the AUKUS deal, stating Washington’s determination to deliver new capabilities to Australia. “as early as possible.” At the time, Canberra’s chief of defense, Richard Marles, spoke of a “great sense of shared mission” between the three allies, also noting that the US rarely shares its nuclear technology, even with close partners.

Asked about the precautions Australia would take to protect sensitive information given the lack of a domestic nuclear propulsion industry, Marles said on Friday that the technology is under “highest degree” of security.

“Soon we will be announcing the optimal path for Australia to acquire a nuclear-powered submarine, and in this context, being a nuclear steward is a very important part of that announcement,” he told reporters. “It does involve quite a bit of hardening of security in a physical sense, with buildings and fences and such, but also in an IT sense.”

AUKUS military leaders discuss nuclear subplan

The trilateral AUKUS pact is under fire from Russia and China. Last month, officials in Beijing criticized the deal for promotion “nuclear proliferation” in the Indo-Pacific region. Russia reiterated similar concerns, warning that the US, UK and Australia will soon face a “military-political alliance” and try to spark a new conflict in Asia.

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