Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear submarines may never eventuate; it’s just Scott Morrison’s giant new election ploy

 

The timing of Mr Morrison’s announcements also merits some consideration. In our view, this project is a political stunt aimed to distract from Covid failures, please coalition constituencies, and split the Labor Party and render the Greens shrill and sidelined.

In reality, it is likely that after a passage of years of staged announcements and pseudo-planning there will be little to show for it, and the enormously expensive, strategically ill-considered, and force-structure distorting project will quietly die.

But, to use Prime Minister Morrison’s phrase, “let us be clear,” in terms of Australian security, it is a gigantic nuclear election stunt that in the long run may increase the risk of nuclear war while drawing Chinese return fire on our vulnerable export sectors, including iron ore.

To be clear” again, it is utterly mendacious of Prime Minister Scott Morrison to say that these forces have nothing to do with nuclear weapons because Australian submarines won’t be so armed, assuming it does not cross that barrier in the future if the submarines ever come to pass. As noted above, they may play a crucial role in US nuclear strike and defence operations……..

Scott Morrison’s Giant Nuclear Election Ploy, APLN Asial Pacific Leadership Network. 19 Sep 21,

Even leaving aside the fiscal profligacy and defence opportunity costs for Australia of the literal blank cheque issued by the Morrison government, the nuclear submarine decision takes Australia into the heart of naval warfighting in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Further, the Australian nuclear submarine decision will have knock-on effects in Japan and the Republic of Korea, leading them not only to move their already highly capable submarine fleets to nuclear power, but also thereby heighten the likelihood they will then equip those submarines with nuclear weapons.

For several decades the US has been concerned to negate two military advances the Chinese regard as essential protection against literally existential threats. The Australian submarines will be designed primarily to contribute to negating both of those military advances.

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September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We need a full and transparent Inquiry into the nuclear submarine deal

But the uncertainties are huge. We don’t know whether it’s proposed to acquire a US or a British submarine. We don’t know how many might be constructed. We don’t know the cost, although we know it’s going to be huge. We don’t know the delivery schedule, though it’s been suggested the first boat won’t be completed until 2040 and not operational for several years after that.

Putting the schedule into perspective, by the time Australia’s first nuclear submarine goes into the water, Aussies will have voted in at least seven federal elections. Scott Morrison will be 72 years old, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be 76 and President Joe Biden will be a venerable 98.

Nuclear-level spin masks a massive failure,  https://indaily.com.au/opinion/2021/09/17/nuclear-level-spin-masks-a-massive-failure/

This week’s nuclear submarine announcement raises questions that need full and transparent examination. What is certain, writes Rex Patrick, is that the Federal Government’s atomic marketing efforts are designed to cover a huge mess of its own making.

In many respects Scott Morrison’s nuclear submarines announcement fits the Prime Minister’s standard modus operandi.

Having presided over a huge shambles, he’s always ready to pull down the curtain and then present something new and shiny to the electorate as a distraction to the failure.

In this case, however, he’s taken his marketing strategy to a new atomic level.

I’ve been a strong critic of the French submarine deal. The projected delays and cost overruns, jointly the fault of Defence and Naval Group, were huge and unacceptable. The Government managed to achieve Australia’s worst-ever defence procurement disaster – which is saying a lot.

Although they repeatedly refused to admit it, and fought tooth and nail to prevent the release of information about the problems with the Future Submarine Program, the Government knew they had a total lemon on their hands – a lemon of their own making.

To deal with the strategic possibility of conflict with China, the Government contracted the French to redesign one of their nuclear submarines to create a completely new long-range diesel-electric submarine. That was always going to be fraught with difficulty, with inevitable cost and time overruns.

It wasn’t Australia’s changing strategic circumstances that have driven a shift to the US/UK nuclear submarine option – that was already factored into the French program – it was complete project disarray.

The PM’s atomic marketing is intended to mask the Government’s own mess.

The distant and uncertain future

We now have to be very careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

I don’t underestimate the significance of the joint announcement of a new strategic and defence technology partnership between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. It’s a big commitment with long term national security, geopolitical, and economic consequences.

But the uncertainties are huge. We don’t know whether it’s proposed to acquire a US or a British submarine. We don’t know how many might be constructed. We don’t know the cost, although we know it’s going to be huge. We don’t know the delivery schedule, though it’s been suggested the first boat won’t be completed until 2040 and not operational for several years after that.

Putting the schedule into perspective, by the time Australia’s first nuclear submarine goes into the water, Aussies will have voted in at least seven federal elections. Scott Morrison will be 72 years old, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be 76 and President Joe Biden will be a venerable 98.

And by 2040, the first of the Collins-class submarines, HMAS Collins, will have been operating for 44 years. The Royal Australian Navy will be trying to stretch out the life of the Collins-class subs far beyond what was ever intended.

At least the Government has finally decided to end the nonsense of shifting Collins-class full-cycle dockings from South Australia to Western Australia. We’re going to have to preserve and nurture all the submarine expertise we have to keep the Collins boats ticking over. The risk of a major capability gap is significant.

The nuclear question

The PM says the new nuclear-powered vessels will be built in Adelaide. It is unclear whether this would involve manufacturing or just assembly of pre-manufactured modules supplied from the US or UK.

If it’s the latter, this would have a huge impact on the extent of technology transfer and the shipbuilding workforce in Adelaide. The Australian local manufacturing content for nuclear boats is certainly likely to be much lower.

If the project proceeds there will be operating nuclear reactors sitting on hard-stands at Osborne and moored in the Port River.

Acquiring, operating and maintaining a nuclear submarine fleet without a domestic nuclear power industry is a challenge that must not be underestimated. The nuclear safety and non-proliferation safeguards issues are unquestionably complex and likely to be controversial.

This decision will likely reignite debate over nuclear power options for Australia. It can’t be said there is much political consensus about that.

There are many significant issues that will need to be properly considered and I fear that they haven’t yet. The proposed initial US-UK-Australia joint study to be undertaken over the next 18 months will take place after Australia’s election. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be rigorous and wide-ranging scrutiny of the Government’s decision now.

I am going to press for the Senate to open an immediate inquiry to ensure that all the angles, including alternative conventionally-powered submarine procurement options, are fully explored and understood.

We need such an inquiry to inform Government, Opposition, the Parliament and, most importantly, the Australian people before the next election.

This is a huge decision taken in response to a Liberal Party own goal which has cost the taxpayer and national security dearly. We don’t want an even bigger repeat of a failure and this massive project should not proceed further without full transparency and scrutiny.

Rex Patrick, a former submariner, is an independent senator for South Australia.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia to lease nuclear submarines from USA, UK?

Dutton may consider leasing nuclear subs, Canberra Times, Colin Brinsden  19 Sept

  The federal government is prepared to lease nuclear submarines from the US while its own fleet is being built, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.  Last week, Australia entered into a surprise regional security pact with the US and the UK, known as AUKUS, which includes building US nuclear submarines but these will not be ready until the late 2030s.

Asked on Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program whether the government would consider leasing nuclear submarines in the interim, Mr Dutton said: “The short answer is yes”.

“There is all of that discussion to take place in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said………

The technology used by Britain and the US means the reactor does not need to be refuelled for the life of the submarine – about 35 years.

“Therefore, we don’t need a domestic industry around nuclear,” Mr Dutton said.

“That is a game changer for the Labor party and we wanted to make sure that this was a bi-partisan effort.”

While Labor backs the government’s decision, one of its frontbenchers, Ed Husic, said it is typical of the coalition that as soon as events start to unravel, they try to shift responsibility to someone else. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7436344/dutton-may-consider-leasing-nuclear-subs/

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

How much will Australia’s nuclear submarines cost the taxpayer?

How much does a nuclear submarine cost?
Jessica Yun
Fri, 17 September 2021 
Is the new ‘AUKUS’ alliance to build Australia a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines battles growing criticism, a key question has emerged: how much do nuclear submarines actually cost?Before we get to that, what’s a nuclear submarine? It’s not considered a nuclear weapon, first of all. It all comes down to how it’s powered; a nuclear submarine works from its own miniature nuclear reactor, whereas conventional submarines use diesel-electric engines.In terms of how much they’ll cost, not even the Federal Finance Minister knows.

“Finalisation of those costs is something that will be assessed in [that] 12-18 month process we’re now embarking on with the UK and the US,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Radio National when asked about how much building the submarines would cost.

“The Prime Minister has acknowledged that it will likely cost more than what we had assessed for the conventionally powered submarines.”

Before the new AUKUS deal, Australia had a $90 billion contract with France to build 12 conventional submarines. To make way for the new defence pact, that deal has now been scrapped.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has taken aim at the question marks around what this will cost Australian taxpayers.

“We know there are contracts in place already that will be breached. And we know there will be substantial compensation costs payable,” Albanese said. These ‘walk-away’ costs are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.

“And Australian taxpayers are entitled to know, given that under this Government they began with arrangements with Japan, then arrangements with France, and now we have these arrangements with the United States and potentially the UK as well.”

What DO we know about the nuclear submarine deal and the costs so far?

T he new ‘AUKUS’ partnership will see Australia acquire a fleet of “at least eight” nuclear-powered submarines to “protect our national security interests” and “work with our partners across the region to achieve the stability and security of our region”, in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s words………the new AUKUS deal means that we’ve torn up a $90 billion contract with France’s Naval Group to build 12 “Attack class” submarines, infuriating France along the way.

How much nuclear submarines cost around the world

The US Navy’s latest submarine model, the Virgina-class submarine, claims to have the latest tech in stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons system tech.

According to documents prepared for the US Congress, procuring a Virgina-class submarine is estimated to cost US$3.45 billion, or AU$4.73 billion, per boat.

Australia doesn’t currently have a domestic nuclear industry. SA Senator Rex Patrick told Yahoo Finance he expects each submarine will cost at least $5 billion to build.

Australian National University research fellow and nuclear science expert AJ Mitchell said there would be an “eye-watering cost” to constructing these high-tech watercrafts.

“Each nuclear submarine typically costs several billion dollars to build, and requires a highly skilled workforce with expertise in nuclear science,” Mitchell wrote in a new piece for The Conversation……… https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/how-much-nuclear-submarine-cost-022130602.html

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big questions remain about Australia’s nuclear submarines, but it’s a massive financial gain for nuclear corporations

The possibility of a submarine deal with Australia came at an opportune moment. It provided Biden with a chance to demonstrate support for a close ally and boost its military strength. For Boris Johnson it could show that
relations with the US had not fallen apart because of the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, and it validated claims that the UK can play a prominent security role in the Indo-Pacific region.

For Australians it provides reassurance that it is still backed by its oldest allies. Having abandoned a “forever war”, the US and UK have signed up to what the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has described as a “forever
partnership”. The test will lie in this submarine project being more successful than the French-backed one it has replaced. This is not something that can be taken for granted.

The big questions about the boats’ design and manufacture will not be answered until 2023. The value
of the contract will be massive, and we should expect the competing claims of all three partners to be pressed hard when they are deciding their contributions. Instead of building diesel-powered submarines with the French, Australia upgraded its requirement to nuclear-powered submarines. These are quieter, can spend more time at sea and can travel greater distances, but they are fiendishly difficult to construct. Although the UK’s Astute-class programme is now running reasonably smoothly, with each boat costing almost £1.5 billion, the first vessel was almost five years
late and massively over budget.

 Times 19th Sept 2021

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-submarine-deal-is-a-real-downer-for-china-x6t89v022

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Malaysia and Indonesia warn Australia’s Indo-Pacific pact could trigger nuclear arms race

Malaysia and Indonesia warn Australia’s Indo-Pacific pact could trigger nuclear arms race, Taipei Times, 19 Sep 21

The new AUKUS alliance will involve Australia, the US and Britain exchanging technology and intelligence
Australia will have access to US nuclear technology, which will enable it to build nuclear submarines

Australia’s nuclear arms ban remains in new deal

Birmingham said there was no “quid pro quo” in Australia agreeing to step up its strategic relationship with the UK and the US.

He insisted that nuclear weapons would not be based within Australia’s jurisdiction. “We’ve been clear, Australia’s position in relation to nuclear weapons does not change, will not change,” he said yesterday.

“We will meet all of our non-proliferation treaty arrangements and obligations and not be changing any of our policies in relation to the nuclear weapons technology.”

Birmingham did not rule out an increase in the number of UK and US military personnel on Australian shores. “We already have US troops and marines who work in Australia on rotational deployments at times,” he said………….

it is not just the French who have been made uneasy by the AUKUS arrangement, which is still to be worked out in detail. Australia’s allies in the Indo-Pacific have also raised concerns over what the deal will mean for tensions in the region.

Malaysia said on Saturday that Canberra’s decision to build atomic-powered submarines could trigger a regional nuclear arms race, echoing concerns already raised by Beijing.

“It will provoke other powers to also act more aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea,” the Malaysian prime minister’s office said, without mentioning China……https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2021/09/20/2003764684

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TV series ”Vigil” shows what life on board a nuclear submarine is like

What really happens on-board nuclear submarines, news.com.au 

With nuclear submarines making headlines in Australia, a new series has shown what life on-board is really like.Grant Rollings, The Sun September 18, 2021  Lurking in the dark depths of the seas for months on end, nuclear submarines are even more secretive than the SAS.

Known as the Silent Service, their whereabouts cannot be revealed, images of the hi-tech interiors are classified and crew never discuss their missions.

But now, thanks to the geniuses behind hit TV series Line Of Duty, the bizarre world of the submariner is being brought to the surface in gripping BBC drama Vigil, which streams locally on Binge.

The six-part murder mystery, which pulled in six million viewers for each of its first two episodes in the UK, sees British actress Suranne Jones play a detective sent to a nuclear sub to investigate a death.

But she struggles with the claustrophobia and psychological pressure of living in such a confined space.

Vigil’s set designers had to create their Vanguard-class sub without drawings or photos, because their interiors are so secret.

So how realistic is it? Royal Navy veteran Captain Mike Davis-Marks, who spent 36 years on submarines, says: “They’ve done a good job getting a lot of it right. I enjoyed it.”

The 63-year-old is also pleased the show is lifting the lid on the top secret world, one whose contribution to defence is often overlooked.

He says: “It is good to see what life is like inside a submarine, even if it is a drama. There has never been a fitting memorial. We have been too secretive.”

As the series is at pains to show, life on these expensive “cigar tubes” – which are 150m long and four decks high – can be extraordinarily tough.

Away for three months at a time, the crew are never allowed to communicate with the outside world unless there is an extreme emergency.

Sending out any signal will compromise a sub’s position, so that means no streaming, internet or social media.

Shifts are six hours on, six hours off, repeated constantly, seven days a week.And privacy on board is in short supply, with bunks stacked so close together your nose almost touches the one above.

Captain Mike, who commanded one of the nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines tasked with seeking out the enemy, says: “Submariners work 24/7. Often, the only way to know what day it is, is by the food you are eating…………….. https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/streaming/what-really-happens-onboard-nuclear-submarines/news-story/2281442874cb66a6867541cc4b

What really happens on-board nuclear submarines, news.com.au 

With nuclear submarines making headlines in Australia, a new series has shown what life on-board is really like.Grant Rollings, The Sun4 min readSeptember 18, 2021  Lurking in the dark depths of the seas for months on end, nuclear submarines are even more secretive than the SAS.

Known as the Silent Service, their whereabouts cannot be revealed, images of the hi-tech interiors are classified and crew never discuss their missions.

But now, thanks to the geniuses behind hit TV series Line Of Duty, the bizarre world of the submariner is being brought to the surface in gripping BBC drama Vigil, which streams locally on Binge.

The six-part murder mystery, which pulled in six million viewers for each of its first two episodes in the UK, sees British actress Suranne Jones play a detective sent to a nuclear sub to investigate a death.

But she struggles with the claustrophobia and psychological pressure of living in such a confined space.

Vigil’s set designers had to create their Vanguard-class sub without drawings or photos, because their interiors are so secret.

So how realistic is it? Royal Navy veteran Captain Mike Davis-Marks, who spent 36 years on submarines, says: “They’ve done a good job getting a lot of it right. I enjoyed it.”

The 63-year-old is also pleased the show is lifting the lid on the top secret world, one whose contribution to defence is often overlooked.

He says: “It is good to see what life is like inside a submarine, even if it is a drama. There has never been a fitting memorial. We have been too secretive.”

As the series is at pains to show, life on these expensive “cigar tubes” – which are 150m long and four decks high – can be extraordinarily tough.

Away for three months at a time, the crew are never allowed to communicate with the outside world unless there is an extreme emergency.

Sending out any signal will compromise a sub’s position, so that means no streaming, internet or social media.

Shifts are six hours on, six hours off, repeated constantly, seven days a week.And privacy on board is in short supply, with bunks stacked so close together your nose almost touches the one above.

Captain Mike, who commanded one of the nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines tasked with seeking out the enemy, says: “Submariners work 24/7. Often, the only way to know what day it is, is by the food you are eating…………….. https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/streaming/what-really-happens-onboard-nuclear-submarines/news-story/2281442874cb66a6867541cc4b

September 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China fears that the nuclear-powered submarines could be armed with nuclear weapons at short notice


US FORCES US submarine launches Trident II nuclear missiles in stunning show of strength U.S,Sun Olivia Burke, Sep 19 2021

THE US Navy triumphantly test-launched Trident D5LE nuclear missiles on Friday in a stunning show of strength.

The scheduled two-missile deployment of the unarmed revamped weapon took place off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida from the USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) submarine……

The Navy boasted of the “unmatched reliability” of the new “sea-based nuclear deterrent” as tensions continue to increase with China.

It was the 184th successful Trident II (D5 & D5LE) SWS missile test flight and follows the last launch in February this year off the coast of Florida……..

“This same team is now developing the next generation of the Trident Strategic Weapon System, which will extend our sea-based strategic deterrent through 2084,”

The Navy also revealed the submarine missiles have been given “a life extension program to address potential impacts from aging and obsolescence”.

They are now primed to be stationed amongst the rest of the fleet alongside the UK Vanguard-class, US Colombia-class, UK Dreadnought-class. 

With an estimated annual cost of $170million, the US spend a whopping $2.4million each year to run the Ohio-class submarines.

….the launch comes in the wake of the revelation of the UK’s and US’ plans to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. 

AUKUS’ ALLIANCE

The alliance has angered China, who fear the subs could be armed at short notice with nukes, despite assurances they will only carry conventional weapons.

The countries leaders carefully navigated the announcement without directly mentioning China’s imposing power – but hinted at their intentions behind the move by discussing “democracy, freedom of navigation, and security.”

The new Indo-Pacific security pact, known as AUKUS, will give the land Down Under the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

It is part of an agreement intended to counter China’s rising military might – that they have splashed six times more cash on than Australia.

With 42 times more soldiers, 55 times more tanks, 13 times more submarines and 16 times more fighter jets, they eclipse the Aussies artillery.

And with 3.3 million troops in service, Beijing dwarves Australia’s 80,000 soldiers – but AUKUS has still managed to seriously ruffle some feathers.

CHINA’S FURY

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the alliance as “seriously damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying the arms race, and undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”.

China is believed to have between 250 and 350 nuclear weapons, compared to America’s colossal arsenal of 5,800 and Russia’s total of 6,375. ……. https://www.the-sun.com/news/3691458/us-submarine-trident-ii-nuclear-missiles-chinas-threats/

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines and their disadvantages

The US Virginia-class submarines typically use highly enriched uranium (HEU) that does not need replacing during the lifecycle of each submarine. Across the world, the US, Britain, Russia and India are the only countries to use HEU in naval reactors. Other countries like France use high-density, low-enriched uranium that will occasionally require swapping out with a replacement source.

HEU is one of the most dangerous metals on earth and also one of the simplest nuclear materials to work with. These twin traits also make it a security risk over fears rogue states or terrorists might develop a nuclear weapon, or mishaps trigger a serious accident. It is also why it has been targeted under non-proliferation treaties to reduce its use.

What are nuclear-powered submarines, anyway? A guide to Australia’s looming military addition,Guardian, Royce Kurmelovs. @RoyceRk2T, hu 16 Sep 2021  

What are they and what design might Australia get?

It is not clear which submarine the Australian government will obtain, but the US navy’s latest design is the Virginia-class submarine. Manufactured by American aerospace and defence company General Dynamics, this submarine has gone through several iterations but is generally powered by a single nuclear reactor and can travel at more than 25 knots. Its crew includes 15 officers and 117 enlisted personnel, and the subs are used both in anti-submarine warfare and intelligence gathering operations.

The vessel is powered by a 210MW pressurised water nuclear reactor, inside of which the enriched uranium fuel is sealed. The reactor does not have to be refuelled over its 30-year lifespan ………….. 

What are the drawbacks of nuclear?

Because nuclear submarines tend to be larger, one downside is they can’t move into shallow waters, making them more easily detectable. During one war game in 2015, a Russian-built, Kilo-class diesel-powered submarine used by the Indian navy “sank” a US nuclear-powered sub – although the US navy has never acknowledged the sinking.

Traditionally Australia’s diesel-powered submarines are thought to have been complementary to US powered nuclear subs used by the US, making the recent announcement a surprise.

Nuclear submarines are also more complicated to maintain and service. Unlike the US and UK, Australia does not have a domestic nuclear power industry, which could provide a highly skilled workforce of engineers and nuclear physicists. Much of the work on the subs will probably have to be done overseas.

It is also not clear what plans are being made to handle the spent uranium. The Australian government has been working to build a controversial nuclear waste storage facility in Kimba in South Australia, but this proposal has so far been limited to low-level and intermediate waste from 100 sites around the country.

Are nuclear subs quieter?

It depends. Diesel-electric subs are quieter while running in electric mode, but must at some point surface or pop up a snorkel to run their diesel engines and recharge the batteries. When the diesel engines are running, these noisier than nuclear-powered subs. Nuclear subs also generate noise from the reactor, including the coolant pipes, turbines and steam generation.

What fuel do they use?

The US Virginia-class submarines typically use highly enriched uranium (HEU) that does not need replacing during the lifecycle of each submarine. Across the world, the US, Britain, Russia and India are the only countries to use HEU in naval reactors. Other countries like France use high-density, low-enriched uranium that will occasionally require swapping out with a replacement source.

HEU is one of the most dangerous metals on earth and also one of the simplest nuclear materials to work with. These twin traits also make it a security risk over fears rogue states or terrorists might develop a nuclear weapon, or mishaps trigger a serious accident. It is also why it has been targeted under non-proliferation treaties to reduce its use.

Will it be able to launch nukes?

If there is one thing the Australian government has been very clear about, it’s that the subs will not be armed with nuclear weapons and that Australia is not seeking to obtain nuclear weapons capability.

That’s not to say the submarine won’t be capable of doing so. Using the Virginia-class as an example, the build comes equipped with 12 vertical missile launch tubes and four 533mm torpedo tubes. It is capable of launching 16 Tomahawk cruise missiles in one salvo but can be modified to mount heavier weapons systems. While these missiles could potentially be built to carry a nuclear warhead, as of 2019 the only variations of the Tomahawk missile in operation were non-nuclear.

What happens when things go wrong?

Serving on a naval submarine has not always been a pleasant experience. For example, German U-boat crews in the second world war suffered devastating losses and many were killed not just in combat but from catastrophic mechanical failures, including asphyxiation from diesel exhaust or explosive decompression after flushing a toilet.When it comes to nuclear subs, radiation adds a new dimension, although there have been no known reactor meltdowns in the sinkings that have occurred to date.

The most recent nuclear sub disaster involved the Russian Kursk, which sank after a faulty weld on a torpedo caused an explosion that then detonated other torpedos. All of the 118 crew members died. Many were instantly killed in the initial blasts, although failsafes in the nuclear reactor shut it down without incident. The 23 sailors who survived the blasts spent six hours awaiting a rescue that did not come, and were killed in a desperate attempt to create oxygen. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/16/what-are-nuclear-powered-submarines-anyway-a-guide-to-australias-looming-military-addition

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine deal planned for 18 months – French ambassador says this is treasonous

Recalled French ambassador accuses Australia of ‘treason in the making’  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/recalled-french-ambassador-accuses-australia-of-treason-in-the-making-20210918-p58ssg.html. By Anthony Galloway

 France’s recalled ambassador to Australia has likened Canberra’s actions to treason after the Morrison government dumped a $90 billion submarine contract with Paris and instead decided to build nuclear-powered submarines with the United States and Britain.

France on Saturday has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the US, as the fallout grows from a new defence pact that has infuriated French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hours before he was recalled, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, did not rule out suspending talks to allow French troops greater access to Australian military bases after his nation was “stabbed in the back”.

Adding insult to the process… we have very reliable reports from the independent press, which I thank, about the fact that all this was in the making for 18 months. Which means we have been blind-sided intentionally for 18 months…. The crime was prepared for 18 months,” he said.

France’s recalled ambassador to Australia has likened Canberra’s actions to treason after the Morrison government dumped a $90 billion submarine contract with Paris and instead decided to build nuclear-powered submarines with the United States and Britain.

France on Saturday has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the US, as the fallout grows from a new defence pact that has infuriated French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hours before he was recalled, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, did not rule out suspending talks to allow French troops greater access to Australian military bases after his nation was “stabbed in the back”.

“Adding insult to the process… we have very reliable reports from the independent press, which I thank, about the fact that all this was in the making for 18 months. Which means we have been blind-sided intentionally for 18 months…. The crime was prepared for 18 months,” he said.

He slammed Australia for allowing a meeting to go ahead between Mr Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne late last month with their French counterparts where they spoke about enhancing defence ties between the two countries.

“It is us, through letters that were sent by the President [Macron] some months ago to the Prime Minister [Scott Morrison], who proposed to look at more ambitious and new ambitious cooperations,” Mr Thebault said……….. The extraordinary move follows the Morrison government’s decision to tear up a $90 billion contract to buy 12 French submarines in favour of a new nuclear-powered fleet using technology from the US and United Kingdom under a new partnership called AUKUS.


September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Review of book: Long Half-life – The Nuclear Industry in Australia 

Lowe highlights that there is a neglected dimension of uranium mining — its inefficiency. Lowe notes that at Ranger it would take 400 tonnes of ore to extract one tonne of uranium yellowcake. At 125,000 tonnes of production, that’s a lot of detritus, which highlights what a giant job is the “remediation” project currently underway at Ranger.

The replacement went ahead, called an Australia’s Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, built by an Argentinian company. Work began in 2002 and it was commissioned in 2006. A condition for its approval was that the waste problem would be solved. Of course, it wasn’t. Which makes the approval and construction of the OPAL reactor unconscionable.

IA Book Club: Long Half-life – The Nuclear Industry in Australia  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/ia-book-club-long-half-life–the-nuclear-industry-in-australia,15520#.YUbL77Fpoi8.twitter By Evan Jones | 19 September 2021 In his far-reaching review, Dr Evan Jones explores a book by Ian Lowe, which looks deep into Australia’s involvement with the nuclear industry.

Lowe has written a telling obituary for the nuclear industry in Australia, but the waste problem refuses to die.   Long Half-life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia’ is available from Booktopia for $28.35 (paperback) RRP.

PHYSICIST Ian Lowe has just published another book, Long Half-life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia. Current generations might say — what nuclear industry? They would probably know about the British nuclear bomb tests on Australian soil (buzz words Woomera and Maralinga); perhaps fragments regarding the export of uranium yellowcake.

Australia has been integrally involved with nuclear since the atom bomb — indeed, before the bomb, as Adelaide-born Marcus Oliphant was a key figure in fostering and furthering the bomb’s development.

Lowe’s book conveniently ties all the threads together. Lowe has been intimately involved in the issue for over 50 years. The book usefully outlines in simple terms for outsiders (of which myself) the technical mysteries of splitting the atom and related discoveries. The book is soberly written, with occasional displays of outrage (John Howard “crass” and Alexander Downer “bumbling and sycophantic” in playing the U.S.’ deputy sheriff) and not a little wry humour.

The immediate consequence of the bomb in Australia was the creation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in March 1949, due to concerns of “reds under the beds”. The Cold War was on in earnest.

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September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine deal is fuelling anger in the country.

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine deal is fuelling anger in the country. Here’s why 9 News

By CNN, 19, 2021  ” ……….it’s not only the French who are furious.Anti-nuclear groups in Australia, and many citizens, are expressing anger over the deal, worried it may be a Trojan Horse for a nuclear power industry, which the nation has resisted for decades

 Australia, and many citizens, are expressing anger over the deal, worried it may be a Trojan Horse for a nuclear power industry, which the nation has resisted for decades.New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke personally to her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, to tell him the vessels would not be welcome in the waters of her country, which has been a no-nuclear zone since 1984………..

…….  Australia’s anti-nuclear movement goes further back than that, to a strong protest movement in the 1970s. This emerged largely because of concerns around the environmental impacts of mining uranium — which Australia has huge reserves of — but also due to worries around risks to public health, particularly among communities living near proposed facilities.

There are also concerns around how to safely store nuclear waste. Explosions or leaks of stored waste can impact human health too, though such disasters are far less common than they once were.In 1977, the Movement Against Uranium Mining in Australia collected 250,000 signatures for a moratorium on extracting the metal, even though nuclear power wasn’t being used in the country.

…………. Greens Party leader Adam Bandt criticised the agreement in a tweet as putting “floating Chernobyls in the heart of Australia’s cities,” saying it “makes Australia less safe. “Bob Brown, a former Greens leader who campaigned against nuclear warships coming into Tasmania in the 1980s, told the Australian Financial Review on Thursday the deal put the country closer to developing a nuclear energy industry and warned of a backlash.

“I think it’s very cowardly what the government’s done,” Mr Brown said. “It’s made a decision without reference to the public, knowing the public would oppose it.” https://www.9news.com.au/national/explainer-australias-nuclearpowered-submarine-deal-is-fueling-anger-in-the-country-heres-why/86638c7e-2e65-43d8-abe8-5194cb26a30e

September 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anger grows over Australia’s submarine deal 

Anger grows over Australia’s submarine deal  https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/anger-grows-over-australias-submarine-deal/news-story/2c14a4b514a7e24768696242428e6498

It’s not just the French who are angry about Australia’s submarine deal with the US and UK. Now, the outrage is closer to home.

When news broke that the US and UK will help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines by sharing their technology and knowledge, the French were furious. But they’re not the only ones.

As part of the new trilateral security agreement – known as AUKUS – the submarine deal will allow for the design and construction process to be sped up. It will help ensure the West maintains it’s edge in combat under water.

As part of the new trilateral security agreement – known as AUKUS – the submarine deal will allow for the design and construction process to be sped up. It will help ensure the West maintains it’s edge in combat under water.

Australia’s decision to tear up a deal for the French submarines in favour of US nuclear-powered vessels sparked outrage in France, with President Emmanuel Macron recalling the nation’s ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move.

There’s also anger brewing from China, with Beijing describing the new alliance as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to regional stability. China has also quenstioned Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, warning the Western allies that they risked “shooting themselves in the foot”.

Closer to home, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned Scott Morrison to keep the nuclear submarines away from her country’s waters, CNN reports. New Zealand has been a nuclear-free zone since the 1980s.

And right on our doorstep, many Australian residents and antinuclear groups are angry, concerned it may be Trojan Horse for a nuclear power industry. Because while Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will not be nuclear-armed, the small reactors used to power them do produce weapons-grade uranium as waste.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Australia tweeted about the deal: “The nuclear-powered submarine deal raises serious concerns over nuclear proliferation as the UK and US’ models use highly enriched uranium.

“This is not prestige, this is provocation.”

The nuclear-powered submarine deal raises serious concerns over nuclear proliferation as the UK and US’ models use highly enriched uranium.
This is not prestige, this is provocation.#nuclearbanpic.twitter.com/QZLSTjhLoq— ICAN Australia (@ican_australia) September 17, 2021

“Important questions remain over construction of the submarines and the potential imposition of military nuclear reactors on Adelaide or other cities, making construction sites and host ports certain nuclear targets,” said Gem Romuld, Director of ICAN Australia.

“Military nuclear reactors in Australia would present a clear nuclear weapons proliferation risk and become potential sites for nuclear accidents and radiological contamination long into the future.”

Green Party leader Adam Bandt even likened the move to putting “floating Chernobyls in the heart of Australia’s cities”

Dr. Jim Green, National nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia, said that nuclear powered submarines typically use highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. This would undermine global efforts to phase out the use of HEU because of WMD proliferation and security concerns.

“The government wants to build nuclear submarines in suburban Adelaide. Does that put a target on our back? Is it prudent to build nuclear submarines in a city of 1.3 million people?

“What alternative locations have been considered, if any?”

Regarding waste products, Dr Green said: “The government has been silent about disposal of the high-level and intermediate-level nuclear waste generated by a nuclear submarine program.

“ … Waste from a nuclear submarine program would be dumped on Aboriginal land, as is the case with the federal government’s current plan to dump Australia’s nuclear waste at Kimba in SA despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners.

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September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Is AUKUS pact a signal to India to go for nuclear attack submarines?

With a new aircraft carrier, six new Kalvari class diesel attack submarines and Vishakhapatnam class of destroyers, the Indian Navy is going to be very potent force in the Indo-Pacific by 2025. By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi SEP 18, 2021  With Australia signing a pact with US and UK to go in for eight nuclear powered conventional attack submarines or SSNs to deter China in Indo-Pacific, India also needs to have a relook at its 1999 conventional submarine plan and move swiftly towards nuclear powered sub-surface vessels.

The AUKUS pact will not be without security ramifications for the Quad partners as there is a distinct possibility that China may build an SSN for its client Pakistan citing the transfer of nuclear reactor under AUKUS to Australia. This will create a bigger security headache for India and for other countries in the IOR.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/is-aukus-pact-a-signal-to-india-to-go-for-nuclear-attack-submarines-101631944254552.html

September 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia urges IAEA monitoring, ‘transparency’ on US-Australia nuclear sub pact,


Russia urges IAEA monitoring, ‘transparency’ on US-Australia nuclear sub pact, Press TV, Friday, 17 September 2021
 Russia warns against Australia’s attempt to becoming a nuclear power under a trilateral pact Canberra signed with the United States and Britain earlier this week.

Russian Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said on Friday that “time has not come yet for such estimations” about Australia turning into a nuclear power.

Under a new Australia-UK-US alliance (Aukus), Canberra would be building at least eight nuclear submarines, using US technology.

The first of the submarines is expected to enter service is 2036.

Ulyanov warned that the plan “is alarming and makes you keep a close eye on that.”

“Australia is a non-nuclear power,” he said, adding that “all this should be closely supervised by the IAEA and its inspection mechanism.”……..

Many observers warned that  the trilateral pact could lead to a situation very similar to the US-Russian arms race during the cold war…… https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/09/17/666731/Russia-Australia-nuclear-powered-submarines-Aukus-

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment