Published daily by the Lowy Institute

John Carlson

John Carlson held the statutory position of Director General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office from 1989 to 2010. He was Chairman of SAGSI (IAEA’s Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation) from 2001 to 2006. He was a Member of the Advisory Board of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, which reported in 2009, and founding Chair of the Asia-Pacific Safeguards Network, 2009-12. John is counselor to NTI (the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington) on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and verification issues. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the International Luxembourg Forum; member of VERTIC’s International Verification Consultants Network; Associate, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center, Harvard University; member of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; and member of the Expert Advisory Committee, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, South Australia. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, and recipient of the Institute’s Distinguished Service Award. In June 2012 John received the award of Member of the Order of Australia (AM).


Articles by John Carlson (21)

  • Postscript: Dealing with the North Korea nuclear threat

    In May I wrote that a North Korean nuclear test was clearly imminent. Last week's test came as no surprise. The test, and North Korea’s recent missile tests, show that sanctions are not working. If nothing changes, North Korea is moving inexorably towards an operational nuclear arsenal that will threaten not only its neighbours but the United States and many other countries.
  • Why Australia should support negotiations for a nuclear weapon ban

    Australia has drawn criticism for opposing UN negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop argues: 'We must engage, not enrage nuclear countries', and dismisses the proposal for a ban as an 'emotionally appealing' approach that would only 'divert attention from the sustained, practical steps needed for effective disarmament.'  Is Ms Bishop right, will the proposed negotiations be counter-productive, will they enrage nuclear-armed countries? 
  • Dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat

    North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, has outlined his country’s nuclear weapon policy. At the Workers’ Party Congress, now in session, he announced that 'as a responsible nuclear weapons state, our Republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes'. He also said 'North Korea will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for the global denuclearisation'.
  • Nuclear Royal Commission finds in favour of storing and disposal of used fuel in Australia

    The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has just released its Tentative Findings for public comment before it finalises its  report, due on 6 May. This is the first independent and comprehensive review of prospective nuclear activities in Australia since the Switkowski report of  10 years ago. The Commission’s findings have major implications for South Australia (SA) and Australia generally.
  • North Korea's nuclear test: Initial analysis

    North Korea claims it has successfully tested a hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb today. Seismic readings show there was a non-natural seismic event consistent with an explosion near Sungjibaegam, North Korea's nuclear test site. The seismic readings are of similar magnitude to those from North Korea's last nuclear test in February 2013.
  • Japan's nuclear power program resumes

    On 11 August Japan restarted its first reactor under the post-Fukushima safety regime. The Sendai No. 1 reactor, in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest Japan, will be given a one-month test and is expected to be in normal service in mid-September. The Sendai No. 2 reactor is expected to restart in mid-October. Prior to the March 2011 Fukushima crisis, nuclear power supplied around 30% of Japan's electricity.
  • Japan's nuclear power program resumes

    On 11 August Japan restarted its first reactor under the post-Fukushima safety regime. The Sendai No. 1 reactor, in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest Japan, will be given a one-month test and is expected to be in normal service in mid-September. The Sendai No. 2 reactor is expected to restart in mid-October. Nuclear power plant at Ohi, Japan. (Flickr/IAEA.) Prior to the March 2011 Fukushima crisis, nuclear power supplied around 30% of Japan's electricity.
  • Iran nuclear deal: Some longer-term issues

    If the framework announced in Switzerland on 2 April regarding Iran's nuclear program and detailed in a US State Department Fact Sheet is successfully carried forward to an agreed Plan of Action (due to be concluded by 30 June), it will be a major achievement. But it should not be seen as the end of the process.
  • Australia-India nuclear deal: The need for full parliamentary scrutiny

    In a previous post, I pointed out how the Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement departs from Australia's longstanding safeguards requirements. In particular, there is a risk that the follow-on 'administrative arrangement' could deprive Australia of the ability to track and account for Australian uranium supplied to India. It is not too late to address this problem in a way that ensures the agreement is meaningful and can command bipartisan support in Australia.