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PacNet #9 — Nuclear-security lessons from Australia

No country can afford to be complacent about nuclear and radiological terrorism. Even countries with little or no nuclear infrastructure could fall victim to groups that have procured radioactive materials from poorly secured foreign facilities. Australia has emerged as a world leader in nuclear security both by enhancing control over radioactive materials and facilities at home, and by helping countries in its near neighborhood (Southeast Asia and the South Pacific) develop the capacity to do the same. Its officials and nuclear-industry leaders have learned key lessons along the way and conducted security-building activities that have not been valued as much as they should have been in Australia’s decision-making circles. Rather than neglect Canberra’s past advances, the government of new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott should launch a nuclear security strategy that builds on the country’s track record and the lessons it has learned.