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Past History - Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb.

This is a discussion on Past History - Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb. within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; It has been known for many years that Australian governments considered, and pursued, the development of nuclear weapons from the ...


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Old February 11th, 2004   #1
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Past History - Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb.

It has been known for many years that Australian governments considered, and pursued, the development of nuclear weapons from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Several books and articles published in the 1990s have shed considerable light on this history.

Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb is a useful and original book by Wayne Reynolds, a history lecturer at Newcastle University. It is based on archival material in Australia, the United States, South Africa, Canada and London.

Reynolds reveals that the planning and pursuit of nuclear weapons in Australia stretches back to the second world war. The project was monumental in scale and bound up with post-war projects such as the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Reynolds focuses on the period from 1945 to 1957, during which the US was closely guarding its nuclear weapons expertise. Britain also wanted nuclear weapons. Having failed to cement a “special relationship” with the US, and with Canada hitching its military fortunes not to the Commonwealth but to the US, Britain's fall-back plan was to use the resources and real estate of the Commonwealth to develop nuclear weapons.

One of several historical misconceptions undermined by Reynolds' research is that the post-war history of the British Empire was one of steady decline. The impasse in Anglo-American relations led to a rejuvenation of the empire, motivated largely by military, and in particular nuclear, matters.

Commonwealth countries, especially Australia and South Africa, were associated with many facets of Britain's empire bomb project, providing uranium, land for weapons and rocket tests and scientific and engineering expertise.

Australia's `Manhattan Project'

Washington saw nuclear weapons as the ideal counter to the numerically superior armed forces of the “Communist bloc”. They had a similar appeal to Australia. Reynolds argues: “The possession of atomic weapons for a small white population in a troubled area, a situation that was to be replicated in southern Africa, provided the ideal solution.”

Canberra tried to use its empire links to get nuclear weapons: “The empire provided Canberra with its only access to atomic weapons and the global war planning that would determine their use.”

“Many of the great national projects”, Reynolds writes, “such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the Woomera Rocket Range and the Australian National University, were in large measure based on the assumption that Australia would one day be a nuclear weapons state”.

Of course, there were multiple agendas for these projects, and the extent to which they owed their existence to the empire bomb project is open to endless debate. Nevertheless, Reynolds provides irrefutable evidence — much of it previously unpublished — that links them to the empire bomb project.

A number of universities established nuclear science and engineering departments after World War II. Mark Oliphant asked for — and got — 500,000 pounds sterling to establish the Research School of Physical Sciences at the ANU and to begin the construction of a research cyclotron, even though initial projections put the cost of the research school at more than half the university's entire budget.

The US Manhattan Project provided the obvious (and the only) model for large-scale nuclear development: the development of atomic reactors adjacent to hydroelectric facilities because a great deal of accessible water and electricity was needed. The site for reactors would need to be isolated, but accessible to research facilities at laboratories and universities.

Hence, the attraction of the Snowy Mountains hydroelectricity scheme. Nelson Lemmon, the federal minister for works and housing, said in 1949 that the Snowy Mountains scheme was “an endeavour to ensure that Australia does not lag in the race to develop atomic power”, and that the “power will be used for defence purposes”.

“Nuclear scientists would conduct experiments on the ANU cyclotron”, Reynolds writes, “and the Snowy Mountains Scheme would provide the plutonium that would one day go into the rockets developed at Woomera”.

Lucas Heights

The Australian Atomic Energy Corporation (AAEC) was established in the early 1950s to build and operate research facilities in the southern Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights. “[I]t is clear that Lucas Heights owed its existence to a considerable degree to the need for Australia to preserve the atomic weapons option”, Reynolds notes.

Part of the bargaining surrounding the weapons tests in South Australia included an agreement by Britain to sell Australia a research reactor. A contract was signed in June 1955 for a British company to build the Hi-Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR), which is still in operation at Lucas Heights. HIFAR, in the minds of those Australians and Britons in the know, was a first step towards the construction of larger reactors capable of producing substantial volumes of plutonium for weapons.

Exactly what weapons-related research was carried out at Lucas Heights has always been a mystery. Reynolds sheds a little light on this. The major research project in the early years of the AAEC concerned beryllium. This research is likely to have been pursued, at least in part, because of British interest in developing thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, however, the beryllium research was justified in terms of its potential use as a neutron moderator in power reactors.

End of the atomic empire

In 1957, the US renewed close atomic co-operation with Britain, motivated by the Soviet Union's success in developing thermonuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Third parties, such as Australia, were excluded from this cooperation.

“Every aspect of the empire deterrent weapons programme was served up on the altar of the Anglo-American special relationship”, Reynolds writes. British weapons tests moved to Nevada. Australia's nuclear research program had to be reined in to ensure compliance with non-proliferation protocols agreed with the Soviet Union. Testing of delivery vehicles was gradually wound down.

According to Reynolds, “At no stage did we envisage a separate bomb. The idea was that we would have an Australian bomb as part of a joint project”. This changed as the empire bomb project came to an end.

Efforts continued to acquire nuclear weapons from Britain and the US, and parallel efforts were made to develop an indigenous capability to build nuclear weapons.

In 1962, the federal cabinet approved an increase in the staff of the AAEC from 950 to 1050 because, in the words of the minister of national development, “a body of nuclear scientists and engineers skilled in nuclear energy represents a positive asset which would be available at any time if the government decided to develop a nuclear defence potential”.

The 1963 decision to buy F-111 bombers from the US was partly motivated by their capacity to be modified to carry nuclear bombs if required.

The AAEC's beryllium research was wound down in the mid-1960s, but research into uranium enrichment was pursued from 1965 for both civil and military purposes — initially in secret in the basement of a building at Lucas Heights.

The plan to build a nuclear power plant at Jervis Bay, announced in 1969 by Prime Minister John Gorton but abandoned in the early 1970s by his successors Billy McMahon and Gough Whitlam, had a military subtext as Gorton later admitted.

Two recent analyses of Australia's historical pursuit of nuclear weapons are those of Jim Walsh, in the Fall 1997 Nonproliferation Review, and Jacques Hymans, in the March 2000 Nonproliferation Review. Both Walsh and Hymans offer a disingenuous, sinners-to-saints history, in which Australia renounces nuclear weapons and becomes an active participant in international disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives.

However, as Reynolds notes, it was only the cementing of the military-nuclear alliance between the US and Australia in the 1970s that signalled the end of any serious pursuit of Australian nuclear weapons. Australian governments have been active participants in international nuclear fora, but they have invariably attempted to block serious disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives at the behest of the US.

edit - added link

http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2001/441/441p28.htm
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Old February 11th, 2004   #2
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Nice article. Thanks for posting gf.
BTW any link or ... 2 ??
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Old December 1st, 2008   #3
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It has been known for many years that Australian governments considered, and pursued, the development of nuclear weapons from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Several books and articles published in the 1990s have shed considerable light on this history.

Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb is a useful and original book by Wayne Reynolds, a history lecturer at Newcastle University. It is based on archival material in Australia, the United States, South Africa, Canada and London.

Reynolds reveals that the planning and pursuit of nuclear weapons in Australia stretches back to the second world war. The project was monumental in scale and bound up with post-war projects such as the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Reynolds focuses on the period from 1945 to 1957, during which the US was closely guarding its nuclear weapons expertise. Britain also wanted nuclear weapons. Having failed to cement a “special relationship” with the US, and with Canada hitching its military fortunes not to the Commonwealth but to the US, Britain's fall-back plan was to use the resources and real estate of the Commonwealth to develop nuclear weapons.

One of several historical misconceptions undermined by Reynolds' research is that the post-war history of the British Empire was one of steady decline. The impasse in Anglo-American relations led to a rejuvenation of the empire, motivated largely by military, and in particular nuclear, matters.

Commonwealth countries, especially Australia and South Africa, were associated with many facets of Britain's empire bomb project, providing uranium, land for weapons and rocket tests and scientific and engineering expertise.

Australia's `Manhattan Project'

Washington saw nuclear weapons as the ideal counter to the numerically superior armed forces of the “Communist bloc”. They had a similar appeal to Australia. Reynolds argues: “The possession of atomic weapons for a small white population in a troubled area, a situation that was to be replicated in southern Africa, provided the ideal solution.”

Canberra tried to use its empire links to get nuclear weapons: “The empire provided Canberra with its only access to atomic weapons and the global war planning that would determine their use.”

“Many of the great national projects”, Reynolds writes, “such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the Woomera Rocket Range and the Australian National University, were in large measure based on the assumption that Australia would one day be a nuclear weapons state”.

Of course, there were multiple agendas for these projects, and the extent to which they owed their existence to the empire bomb project is open to endless debate. Nevertheless, Reynolds provides irrefutable evidence — much of it previously unpublished — that links them to the empire bomb project.

A number of universities established nuclear science and engineering departments after World War II. Mark Oliphant asked for — and got — 500,000 pounds sterling to establish the Research School of Physical Sciences at the ANU and to begin the construction of a research cyclotron, even though initial projections put the cost of the research school at more than half the university's entire budget.

The US Manhattan Project provided the obvious (and the only) model for large-scale nuclear development: the development of atomic reactors adjacent to hydroelectric facilities because a great deal of accessible water and electricity was needed. The site for reactors would need to be isolated, but accessible to research facilities at laboratories and universities.

Hence, the attraction of the Snowy Mountains hydroelectricity scheme. Nelson Lemmon, the federal minister for works and housing, said in 1949 that the Snowy Mountains scheme was “an endeavour to ensure that Australia does not lag in the race to develop atomic power”, and that the “power will be used for defence purposes”.

“Nuclear scientists would conduct experiments on the ANU cyclotron”, Reynolds writes, “and the Snowy Mountains Scheme would provide the plutonium that would one day go into the rockets developed at Woomera”.

Lucas Heights

The Australian Atomic Energy Corporation (AAEC) was established in the early 1950s to build and operate research facilities in the southern Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights. “[I]t is clear that Lucas Heights owed its existence to a considerable degree to the need for Australia to preserve the atomic weapons option”, Reynolds notes.

Part of the bargaining surrounding the weapons tests in South Australia included an agreement by Britain to sell Australia a research reactor. A contract was signed in June 1955 for a British company to build the Hi-Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR), which is still in operation at Lucas Heights. HIFAR, in the minds of those Australians and Britons in the know, was a first step towards the construction of larger reactors capable of producing substantial volumes of plutonium for weapons.

Exactly what weapons-related research was carried out at Lucas Heights has always been a mystery. Reynolds sheds a little light on this. The major research project in the early years of the AAEC concerned beryllium. This research is likely to have been pursued, at least in part, because of British interest in developing thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, however, the beryllium research was justified in terms of its potential use as a neutron moderator in power reactors.

End of the atomic empire

In 1957, the US renewed close atomic co-operation with Britain, motivated by the Soviet Union's success in developing thermonuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Third parties, such as Australia, were excluded from this cooperation.

“Every aspect of the empire deterrent weapons programme was served up on the altar of the Anglo-American special relationship”, Reynolds writes. British weapons tests moved to Nevada. Australia's nuclear research program had to be reined in to ensure compliance with non-proliferation protocols agreed with the Soviet Union. Testing of delivery vehicles was gradually wound down.

According to Reynolds, “At no stage did we envisage a separate bomb. The idea was that we would have an Australian bomb as part of a joint project”. This changed as the empire bomb project came to an end.

Efforts continued to acquire nuclear weapons from Britain and the US, and parallel efforts were made to develop an indigenous capability to build nuclear weapons.

In 1962, the federal cabinet approved an increase in the staff of the AAEC from 950 to 1050 because, in the words of the minister of national development, “a body of nuclear scientists and engineers skilled in nuclear energy represents a positive asset which would be available at any time if the government decided to develop a nuclear defence potential”.

The 1963 decision to buy F-111 bombers from the US was partly motivated by their capacity to be modified to carry nuclear bombs if required.

The AAEC's beryllium research was wound down in the mid-1960s, but research into uranium enrichment was pursued from 1965 for both civil and military purposes — initially in secret in the basement of a building at Lucas Heights.

The plan to build a nuclear power plant at Jervis Bay, announced in 1969 by Prime Minister John Gorton but abandoned in the early 1970s by his successors Billy McMahon and Gough Whitlam, had a military subtext as Gorton later admitted.

Two recent analyses of Australia's historical pursuit of nuclear weapons are those of Jim Walsh, in the Fall 1997 Nonproliferation Review, and Jacques Hymans, in the March 2000 Nonproliferation Review. Both Walsh and Hymans offer a disingenuous, sinners-to-saints history, in which Australia renounces nuclear weapons and becomes an active participant in international disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives.

However, as Reynolds notes, it was only the cementing of the military-nuclear alliance between the US and Australia in the 1970s that signalled the end of any serious pursuit of Australian nuclear weapons. Australian governments have been active participants in international nuclear fora, but they have invariably attempted to block serious disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives at the behest of the US.

edit - added link

http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2001/441/441p28.htm
well in my right mind i rekon we made an agreement with the americans and brits to keep our nuke status a secret so as to not give ammunition to the future nuke wanna be clubs....what else can explain our disregard for equiping our nation with a credible defence force?
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Old December 6th, 2008   #4
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well in my right mind i rekon we made an agreement with the americans and brits to keep our nuke status a secret so as to not give ammunition to the future nuke wanna be clubs....what else can explain our disregard for equiping our nation with a credible defence force?
so which type of weapon do you think we have?
small battlefield bombs or are there icbms in the outback where no man has gone before and just how do we hide them from overhead satalite imagery
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Old December 7th, 2008   #5
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well in my right mind i rekon we made an agreement with the americans and brits to keep our nuke status a secret so as to not give ammunition to the future nuke wanna be clubs....what else can explain our disregard for equiping our nation with a credible defence force?
Not much point in having nuclear deterrence if no one knows you have a nuke.
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Old December 7th, 2008   #6
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so which type of weapon do you think we have?
small battlefield bombs or are there icbms in the outback where no man has gone before and just how do we hide them from overhead satalite imagery
IF we had a weapon it would likely be a 20~100kt implosion fission weapon, of free fall design (intended to be carried by the F-111). But i seriously doubt that (although if the decision was made to go down the nuclear path these days i dont think it would take too long to slap one together).
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so which type of weapon do you think we have?
small battlefield bombs or are there icbms in the outback where no man has gone before and just how do we hide them from overhead satalite imagery
at the very least tactical nukes.free fall and mabey even warheads to fit to harpoon and agm142 and future aquisitions such as jassm.whos to say there isnt mobile irbm's.we bought f111's,as far as the book australias bid for the bomb claims,to be our nuclear bomber in a deal with the us that theyd supply us with nukes when needed in exchange for australia not to go down the path of becoming a nuke weapons state.now what guarentees does australia have in regard to that.americas word?what pressure at the time could america bring to bear on australia to abondon her nuke ambitions?other than pressuring the brits to cancell in 1971 the nuke power station that was to be built in nsw.so why did they australian government officially cancell the nuke programme?or did they?or did the americans succed in keeping australia nuke free?or was it their intent?did they give up on it and instaed concentrate on keeping it a secret?

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Not much point in having nuclear deterrence if no one knows you have a nuke.
oh but there is because the australian government would know and so would a potential enemy we couldnt handle conventionally when push came to shove.
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IF we had a weapon it would likely be a 20~100kt implosion fission weapon, of free fall design (intended to be carried by the F-111). But i seriously doubt that (although if the decision was made to go down the nuclear path these days i dont think it would take too long to slap one together).
and what technical data did australia have access to from the brits in our collaberation with them in both exploding the abombs here and the joint venture in bluestreak?and what further research was carried out here to this day?when the bombs were tested here did austarlia have access to the blue prints and tech data of the device?
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oh but there is because the australian government would know and so would a potential enemy we couldnt handle conventionally when push came to shove.

I think you'll find what Ozzy is trying to say is that IF you are going to have a nuclear capability you make it known to the world so Push doesn't come to Shove.
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and what technical data did australia have access to from the brits in our collaberation with them in both exploding the abombs here and the joint venture in bluestreak?and what further research was carried out here to this day?when the bombs were tested here did austarlia have access to the blue prints and tech data of the device?
We probably had reasonably high access to this 1950's/60's technology - but that's the point it was 1950's/60's stuff. As I understand it anybody doing a doctorate in physics has the knowledge to design an atomic device. The knowledge breakthroughs that kept the US, UK and Russia as the only possessors of 'the knowledge' back in the '50's have been made readily available. We possibly have sufficient knowledge in DSTO to integrate a device with existing weaponry.

These two issues aren't the issue that precludes us from having the bomb. It's the political will and ramifications that result from having nukes. If the Indonesians knew we had a nuke, what do you think would be their next move? I'd be guessing it'd be a crash program in 'build your own nuke'. Do we really want that type of regional arms race? And of course if the Indon's possessed the bomb, you can bet the Malay's would get in on the act etc. Nice, our own little nuclear MAD right here in our backyard.

It's not something I'd be pushing for.
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I think you'll find what Ozzy is trying to say is that IF you are going to have a nuclear capability you make it known to the world so Push doesn't come to Shove.
woulnt need to.the potential adversary would be told when they needed to know.
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We probably had reasonably high access to this 1950's/60's technology - but that's the point it was 1950's/60's stuff. As I understand it anybody doing a doctorate in physics has the knowledge to design an atomic device. The knowledge breakthroughs that kept the US, UK and Russia as the only possessors of 'the knowledge' back in the '50's have been made readily available. We possibly have sufficient knowledge in DSTO to integrate a device with existing weaponry.

These two issues aren't the issue that precludes us from having the bomb. It's the political will and ramifications that result from having nukes. If the Indonesians knew we had a nuke, what do you think would be their next move? I'd be guessing it'd be a crash program in 'build your own nuke'. Do we really want that type of regional arms race? And of course if the Indon's possessed the bomb, you can bet the Malay's would get in on the act etc. Nice, our own little nuclear MAD right here in our backyard.

It's not something I'd be pushing for.

and a future crisis where australia is all alone at the mercy of a mega power due to an unable or un willing us assistance...now thats something i wouldnt be pushing for.
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and a future crisis where australia is all alone at the mercy of a mega power due to an unable or un willing us assistance...now thats something i wouldnt be pushing for.
OK, so you are saying that the US and UK would not assist at all? Despite our active assistance in Korea, Vietnam, GWI, GWII, Afganhistan or our defence pact? There has already been assistance given by the US when we went in to Timor, so the "you scratch our back, we'll scratch yours" theory seems to work.

The alternative? Build our own nuclear weapon, be condemned by just about every nation in the UN, possibly face sanctions from some countries. When Australia is trying so hard on free trade agreements, leading the push in the anti whaling actions do you really think that would help? If anything the US would not be assisting us, they would be trying to dissuade us from following that course of action. In fact it may even be something that dissolves our defence relationship. The Kiwi's wouldn't want anything to do with us either. And you've got the issues with a local nuclear arms race. To develop a device would cost billions, to secure the technology and devices, an ongoing cost of billions more.

It would make us a pariah, and without the US to assist us we would then have to be able to defend ourselves independently, which would then mean a much larger conventional defence force in an economy made smaller by sanctions. Your earlier point about the development being done in secret, its a significant program in a small defence force, someone would find out, people outside Australia would know. We'd be in the same boat as if we'd told the world.
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Quote taken from post in RAN thread here.

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Well, its a pretty big grey area. There is nothing specifically stopping anyone from developing a nuclear warhead the right size for a land attack harpoon. Given the Land attack harpoon is fitted with the Tomahawk conventional warhead, I would imagine it would possibly with some modification take the Tomahawk nuclear physics package (something like a W80). The harpoon is certainly in a class of missiles that is large enough to take a real physics package and guide it to a target. Not ideal but certainly workable. Its not like we couldn't do it if we had to.

Well if we were supplied with a off the shelf mothball US weapon yes. That still means we can dispatch several megaton payloads anywhere in our region. Combining the F-111 and a nuclear harpoon would provide a suitable delivery system to get through most modern defences. A custom weapon could be of a Extended range glide or powered type. So Australia does have a delivery system it would just need the payload, which is actually the easy part of the whole deal. Harpoons can also be sublaunched from our SSG's. Again part of Australia's (inadvertant?) latent nuclear deterant.

I don't know if this is really the place for an open discussion on Australia nuclear capability. Silex is a method that is now capable to be used and is going to be used in the nuclear fuel industry. Once you have a deep understanding of the details (like Australia does) it would turn enrichment into a very minor issue for Australia. Any stores of uranium or Plutonium could easily be used. At purity levels never seen before from diffusion or centrifuging. There is a plant becomming operational in the US, but establishing one here would take minimal time given we have the knowhow. Even ignoring that, Australia would not be beyond establishing diffusion or centrifuging, but that would add 12 months min to any process.

Previous articles from various sources rank Australia highly on the "near nuclear power" list, in simular position to Japan, Germany or Canada. Any of these countries could quickly develop a nuclear device before things like sanctions, blockades etc would have any effect on the outcome. Japan has tons of weapon grade material in stores, germany would have extensive access and same with Canada. None of these countries (or most advanced 1st world nations) would find developing nuclear devices difficult.

Which is why we should go down that road. Its a defensive not an offensive asset that would be useful both within our region and outside of it if required. The argument of becoming nuclear weapons capable is really something people should have left behind in the 80's at the latest. Almost any country if determined can become a nuclear power if it really wanted it. Delivery systems on the other hand are a different matter. Defensive systems will assist in non-proliferation and development in the first place.

Admin: Please use the approp forum editing tools - it makes it easier for everyone to identify who's who in the reply zoo....
I believe most posters would agree that Australia could, if it chose to do so, develop a nuclear device. However, there are a number of things which Australia would need to consider before deciding to embark on nuclear weapons development.

In addition to the defence and technological considerations, Australia would also need to be concerned over the economic and political/diplomatic impact developing nuclear weapons would have.

Indeed, unless there was a hostile, already nuclear-armed country near enough to threaten Australia, these are things which would need to be considered beforehand.

From a political/diplomatic perspective... Australia would either need to exit the NPT and Treaty of Rarotonga, or abrogate its agreements with regards to these treaties. Given that Australia was the impetus behind the Treaty of Rarotonga... I consider it unlikely that Oz would cease being a party to the treaty. However, it would likely find itself isolated diplomatically, as many of its closest neighbors start looking elsewhere for friends and allies. Also, the Great Powers are unlikely to be overly thrilled with Australia for exiting the NPT. This is likely to have a negative impact on Australian influence in the wider world, as well as likely causing some negative economic activities as various countries either chose to boycot Australian products, or impose sanctions or embargoes on trade with Australia.

For the economic side, aside from outside efforts to get Australia to abide by the two forementioned treaties, there would likely be a fairly significant outlay required to build up the infrastructure required to develop and produce a useful nuclear arsenal. By 'useful' I mean in terms of number of warheads, warhead yield, and delivery systems.

Lastly, and just speaking in general technical terms... Australia, I am confident could build a nuclear bomb. But could it build a nuclear bomb that would be useful? There is a gap between the theoretical knowledge required to construct a nuclear device (which can likely be gleaned from the libraries of any decent uni...) and being able to construct a deliverable device.

I would expect that if Australia was sufficiently threated as to consider a nuclear strike upon some force and/or country, then the target would likely be defended with a fair amount of sophistication. If this were true, then IMO a free-fall bomb (amongst the simplest nuclear devices to construct) would be of limited use, as there would be signifigant risk that the aircraft and/or device would be lost or captured prior to delivery. This could in turn cause the device to be used against Australia, or perhaps gain military, diplomatic or even just moral support from other nations because Australia attempted to target them with a nuclear device. Therefore, Australia would need to develop some form of standoff delivery system, either via something like a ballistic missile, some form of cruise missile, or in the future perhaps a hypersonic weapon or even from a UAV. With regards to making a missile warhead, the nuclear device would need to be small enough and light enough to fit within the missile and still allow the missile to 'fly'. It would also need to be hardened enough to not interfere with the missile's guidance systems, as well as to allow the device to still detonate once arriving on target.

Given that Australia AFAIK has a minimal knowledge in construction of conventional missile warheads, nevermind nuclear ones, it would likely take time to develop. This is also an area where I would expect that a theoretical knowledge of how to construct a nuclear device would be of limited use, since there are weight and space constraints.

Lastly, given the vast distances between Australia and the various nuclear-armed states, as well as Australia's relationship with them presently, coupled with the likelihood of it causing a regional nuclear arms race, why would Australia be interested in developing a nuclear weapons capability?

-Cheers
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