1st Edition

Australia's Nuclear Policy
Reconciling Strategic, Economic and Normative Interests

ISBN 9781138384033
Published June 7, 2019 by Routledge
250 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Australia’s Nuclear Policy: Reconciling Strategic, Economic and Normative Interests critically re-evaluates Australia’s engagement with nuclear weapons, nuclear power and the nuclear fuel cycle since the dawn of the nuclear age. The authors develop a holistic conception of ’nuclear policy’ that extends across the three distinct but related spheres - strategic, economic and normative - that have arisen from the basic ’dual-use’ dilemma of nuclear technology. Existing scholarship on Australia’s nuclear policy has generally grappled with each of these spheres in isolation. In a fresh evaluation of the field, the authors investigate the broader aims of Australian nuclear policy and detail how successive Australian governments have engaged with nuclear issues since 1945. Through its holistic approach, the book demonstrates the logic of seemingly conflicting policy positions at the heart of Australian nuclear policy, including simultaneous reliance on US extended deterrence and the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Such apparent contradictions highlight the complex relationships between different ends and means of nuclear policy. How successive Australian governments of different political shades have attempted to reconcile these in their nuclear policy over time is a central part of the history and future of Australia’s engagement with the nuclear fuel cycle.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Australia, nuclear weapons and non-proliferation; Nuclear policy: managing the dual-use challenge of nuclear fission; Exploring Australia’s nuclear options: Second World War to the Whitlam Government (1945-75); Bedding down the NPT: the Fraser Government (1975-83); Nuclear challenges between Washington and Wellington: the Hawke Government (1983-91); New opportunities and new dangers: the Keating Government (1991-96); Great power politics, proliferation and terrorism: the Howard Government (1996-2007); Consensus and stagnation in Australian nuclear policy: the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments (2007-13); Conclusion: Australian nuclear policy in the 20th and 21st century; Bibliography; Index.

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Michael Clarke is an Associate Professor at the National Security College at the Australian National University (ANU). Stephan Frühling is a Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (ANU). Andrew O'Neil is a Professor of Political Science and Head of the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University.


’Comprehensive in scope and lucidly written, this is an indispensable source for anyone seeking to understand the evolution of Australian nuclear policy in all its dimensions. There is bound to be dissent from some of its judgments - I, for one, think the authors understate the genuineness and intensity of the Hawke-Keating governments’ commitment to nuclear disarmament, as distinct from just proliferation - but no one interested in these issues can afford not to give it bookshelf pride of place.’ Gareth Evans, Minister for Resources and Energy 1984-87, Foreign Minister 1988-96, Co-Chair International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament 2009 ’This is a wide-ranging work, and will be the unrivalled go-to source for understanding Australia’s approach to nuclear affairs across strategic, political, and economic dimensions. Combining scholarly rigor with keen attentiveness to the policy issues, the authors illuminate Australian nuclear policy - its activism and ambivalence, its consistencies and contradictions, its principles and pitfalls.’ Bates Gill, The University of Sydney, Australia