COULD AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE SUBMARINES BE NUCLEAR-POWERED?
GREEN PAPER UCL International Energy Policy Institute Adelaide, AUSTRALIA August 2013
Photo: PICTURE BY : LA PHOT PAUL O’SHAU/MOD
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About UCL Australia University College London (UCL) is one of the world’s leading research universities. Founded in 1826, UCL was the first London university. In 2010 it became the first major British university to establish an international campus, opening UCL Australia in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. UCLAustralia has three academic units; the UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia, the UCL International Energy Policy Institute and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (Australia).
About the IEPI University College London established the UCL International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) in 2012, giving it a mission to consider global issues surrounding investment in power generation technologies where liberalised power markets are operating under carbon constraints. This focus includes the complex interactions and implications of technical, legal, financial and environmental effects on power generation. IEPI also examines the role of governments in energy technology investment and the positive and negative impacts on resource-rich nations – including the ‘resource curse’. Value-adding to energy resources and assets, particularly global uranium production, the unconventional gas revolution and renewable energy, are also focal points for the research programme – particularly the impact of policy setting on communities, the environment and energy transmission. The IEPI was founded with major funding donations from Santos, BHP Billiton and the Government of South Australia. It draws further funding from private and public programmes, including a number of power and energy companies.
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Foreword The decision on whether Australia should deploy, through a variety of procurement options, conventional and/or nuclear-powered submarines will be determined by the Australian Government in accordance with its current submarine acquisition process. Concise arguments have been made by others for the need for at least part of the new submarine fleet to be nuclear-powered. We concur with such thinking. However, these previous studies did not explore the key issues that will need to be addressed if Australia is to have the capability to operate and maintain nuclear-powered submarines. This paper seeks to highlight those issues and addresses the question: â€œWhat would it take for Australia to develop a nuclearpowered submarine capability?â€? Developing a nuclear-powered submarine capability in Australia involves identifying the necessary infrastructure, workforce, legislative and regulatory (both national and international) requirements. This report finds eight key issues in relation to meeting these requirements, as well as a number of strategic points requiring policy focus. There is a small, but growing, presence in Australia of subsidiaries of major international engineering companies with expertise across the nuclear and submarine supply chain. These companies may be willing to increase their capacity to support a nuclearpowered submarine capability in Australia. However, further support will be required from Australiaâ€™s allies, regardless of the final choice of submarine design.
This green paper suggests: 1.
Developing a nuclear-powered submarine capability may present no greater challenge than Australia developing its own uniquely modified conventional submarine design and construction capability.
A nuclear industry per se does not need to be developed first in order for a nuclear- powered submarine option to become feasible. Indeed, in most cases around the world, defence needs have preceded civil ones.
There appears to be little evidence supporting the argument that Australia would be more dependent on its allies if it leased or acquired nuclear-powered submarines.
There is a significant global shortage of nuclear regulatory personnel and there are significant challenges in developing this capability, although some already exists in Australia. In practice, the primary training ground for many potential recruits into nuclear safety inspectorates is a nuclear submarine engineering force. The existing nuclear regulatory bodies in Australia would benefit in the long run from the use of [nuclear-powered submarines] by the Royal Australian Navy.
It is virtually certain that the fuel would be provided with the reactor. With the modern design trade-offs indicating that fuelling for life is preferable, issues around refuelling (e.g. the management of spent fuel) would probably not apply and any spent fuel could possibly be the responsibility of the country of origin, depending on negotiations.
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It is possible that Australia would only need to manage short-lived [radioactive] wastes produced during operations and maintenance [of nuclear-powered submarines], which could be done within the facilities already planned for development in Australia.
It is unlikely that any major maintenance of the reactor would take place in Australia, unless a phased approach to procurement took place where, for instance, the first boat would be leased (to provide capability quickly), with more of the final assembly carried out locally for subsequent vessels.
With the exception of the nuclear fuel in the reactor, all of the radioactive waste produced in the decommissioning of a nuclear submarine should be lower-level and manageable within the planned facilities.
This paper is not meant to be conclusive, nor is it a technical description of nuclear-powered submarines. It does not attempt to explore the military staffing, deployment or tactical use of either type of submarine. It is a green paper, designed to draw out informed and constructive debate on the key issues that need to be addressed should Australia decide to have nuclear-powered submarines as all or part of its Future Submarines fleet.
Professor Stefaan Simons Director, UCL IEPI
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Chapter 1: The issues Chapter 2: Overview Chapter 3: The Case for Nuclear-Powered Submarines Chapter 4: Design Options Chapter 5: Lease, Procure or Build? Chapter 6: Development of Skills and Expertise Chapter 7: Waste, maintenance and decommissioning Chapter 8: Security Issues Chapter 9: International and National Law Chapter 10: Conclusion
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Chapter 1: The issues In 2009, Australia’s Department of Defence White Paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 , identified its “Future Submarine” requirements as being of increased range, patrol endurance and strike capability compared to the existing Collins class submarines . The Future Submarine project acquisition process will be the largest and most complex ever undertaken by the Department of Defence. All options will be considered, from designing a completely new submarine, to a military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) solution, as well as all phases of the resulting acquisition process (including design, construction and delivery of the submarines) and the infrastructure and logistic requirements. The process requires that decisions on whether to source the capability from either domestic industry or overseas be based on value for money for the Commonwealth and States. Further, the decision process mandates that uncompetitive Australian industries should not be subsidised. The First Pass Approval was to be made by 2014-15, a decision by 2017-18 and Initial Operational Capability by 2026-27. However, delays are now expected to this process. The 2013 White Paper states that the Australian Government remains committed to assembling the future submarines in South Australia and has ruled out consideration of a nuclear-powered submarine capability . The White Paper also states that the Government has suspended further investigation of the two MOTS designs in order to progress an ‘evolved Collins’ and new design options. However, concerns raised over defence spending cuts and the viability of adapting the Collins class submarines to meet Australia’s defence requirements lead to the conclusion that nuclear-powered submarines should continue to be explored as an option for Australia, in line with the requirements to consider the most cost effective and lowest risk options in meeting Australia’s strategic needs. In addition to the eight key issues identified earlier, this paper highlights the following 15 points for policy focus:
Australia will need to undertake long-term development of its domestic submarine workforce and rely on foreign experts and supply-chains, regardless of the type of submarine it deploys.
There is a small, but growing, nuclear engineering capability in Australia (particularly in regards to nuclear-powered submarines) that could form the nucleus around which further skills are developed.
While Australia has received diesel-powered submarine program support from its allies in the past, the extent to which this will continue into the future is uncertain, as such submarines become increasingly obsolete. Any attempt to design a new or modified conventional submarine would be very high risk.
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An Australian nuclear-powered submarine force would make a significant contribution to security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Although there will be the expense of new facilities to support a nuclear-powered submarine program, the overall cost of such a program is likely to be competitive with the conventional submarines proposed to replace the Collins class, particularly if a modified design option were to be chosen.
Australia would need to consider procurement mechanisms for the transfer of nuclear- powered submarines to Australia that best meets Australiaâ€™s objectives.
Australia will need several thousand skilled workers in place in order to build or assemble the next generation of submarines, and a few hundred more ongoing personnel for the operation and maintenance of the submarine fleet.
In order to further develop its workforce and regulators, Australia would need to consider developing a strategy for international cooperation, support and training from either the USA or UK.
IX. The Australian Government will need to expand its submarine workforce and expertise, regardless of whether it pursues either a military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) nuclear-powered submarine, or modifies a conventional submarine to meet the Future Submarine requirements. X.
Local assembly of the reactor and other components, and vessel construction and maintenance, would impose stringent security clearance and licensing requirements on the assembly facilities and shipyards where the activities take place.
Operating and maintaining an SSN capability would need to be done within the confines of any applicable international treaty obligations and the commercial deal and procurement arrangements that Australia negotiates with a supplier country/company. Such obligations will likely emerge across most, if not all, of the supply chain issues.
The Australian Government would need to consider its position on the treatment of naval nuclear propulsion under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and take the actions required by its safeguards commitments.
Australia could both champion and be the first test case of an initiative to institute a verification regime for nuclear material, particularly highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel, used in naval programs.
Australia would need to consider bilateral agreements and applicable export controls to enable the procurement and transfer of naval nuclear propulsion technology from a supplier state to Australia.
Australia would need to consider the development of an institutional and legal apparatus in Australia to govern a naval nuclear-powered submarine capability, within the existing institutional framework or pursuant to a new framework.
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Chapter 2: Overview The 2009 White Paper1 stated that Australia’s Future Submarines must be superior to the Collins class in terms of range, endurance, and capabilities, without utilising nuclear propulsion .This greatly complicates the acquisition process, since only nuclear-powered submarines address the strategic requirements identified in the paper in full, while various stakeholders have expressed uncertainty around whether conventional submarines can be effectively modified to meet such requirements. Developing a nuclear-powered submarine capability may present no greater challenge than Australia developing its own uniquely modified conventional submarine design and construction capability. Both are considered immense challenges for Australia and neither will succeed unless they are part of a longer-term strategy to increase the capability of the domestic workforce, facilities and regulatory bodies. Both the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) argue against Australia building another generation of conventional submarines and are in favour of acquiring MOTS nuclear-powered submarines. In their report , the CIS considers nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, such as the US Navy’s Virginia class (see Section 4), to have superior range, speed, endurance, power output, sensors, and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) compared to any conventional submarine. Furthermore, the Virginia class is expected to be more reliable and cost effective compared to modified Collins class submarines. It is likely that a very similar argument can be made for the UK Astute class nuclear-powered submarines. Essentially, Australia has three options to develop capability in nuclear-powered submarines; build, procure or lease. Section 5 deals with these options directly. However, in all the discussions that follow, the word lease is used in an operational sense (rather than one of financing), in order to distinguish between an outright acquisition of a submarine and constructing one entirely in Australia. In all cases, the technology that will be required is certain to be heavily dependent on provision by one of the existing nuclear submarine building countries – such as the UK or the US2. The CIS report further argues that leasing nuclear-powered submarines may be preferable if it allows Australia to hand them back, together with the spent fuel in the reactor core, at end-of-life, thereby possibly avoiding the issues around disposal of spent nuclear fuel, and, for the life of the lease, to secure sustainment through training, logistical support, upgrades and other necessary capabilities to operate nuclear-powered submarines. Under this arrangement it is argued that manufacturing defects, spent nuclear fuel, waste disposal and other risks could be assumed by the foreign owner. The waste issues are discussed further
The Future Submarine requirements have been retained in the 2013 White Paper. While this paper makes reference to acquisition discussions that might occur with the US or UK, this is not intended to be limiting. This paper does not dismiss acquisition from other countries possessing the requisite capabilities; rather this paper acknowledges the extensive military cooperation that exists between Australia, the US and the UK, and concludes that Australia is most likely to acquire submarine technology from one of these two countries. 1 2
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in Section 7 of this paper. However, even under this leasing scenario it seems likely that Australia would need to develop some ongoing nuclear engineering capability, as there would never be a guarantee that this arrangement would secure the necessary workforce and facilities for the life of the submarine fleet. More importantly, some of the basic maintenance on the submarine that would be performed in Australia would require Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel (“SQEP”) to work on a nuclear licenced site. Furthermore, the report makes no mention of the policy, regulatory and political hurdles that need to be overcome to enable such arrangements to take place. These issues are explored further in Section 9 of this paper. The ASPI report also suggests the Virginia class as an appropriate solution for Australia’s Future Submarine requirements . It notes that there may be nuclear proliferation concerns to be managed due to the highly enriched uranium (HEU) used in the submarine’s reactor (although it does not address this issue any further). The drawback is again identified as being the perceived lack of a nuclear engineering capability in Australia and the high level of dependence on the USA that this would lead to for ongoing support and periodic major refits. The ASPI report comments that growing the domestic workforce would be a time consuming endeavour that would require extensive overseas training and support. As Australia has historically required technical support from its allies (including for its dieselpowered submarines), we assert that Australia will need to undertake longterm development of its domestic submarine workforce and rely on foreign experts and supply-chains, regardless of the type of submarine it deploys. Furthermore, there is a small, but growing, nuclear engineering capability in Australia (particularly in regards to nuclear-powered submarines) that could form the nucleus around which further skills are developed. Such expertise lies within the Australian subsidiaries of international companies who may be willing to support the growth of their subsidiaries rather than focus the work in their home jurisdictions. The arguments against Australia acquiring nuclear-powered submarines have focussed on the perceived lack of domestic capability and the costs required to build that capability (in relation to regulatory measures, engineering, education and infrastructure). Certainly there are public and political barriers to be overcome, but we disagree that a nuclear industry per se needs to be developed first in order for a nuclear-powered submarine option to become feasible. Indeed, in most cases around the world, defence needs have preceded civil ones. A further objection to nuclear-powered submarines is related to the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). However, on this issue CIS argues that the exemption of nuclear-powered submarines from the NPT is well known and that arguments suggesting otherwise are rarely clearly articulated. We address this issue specifically in Section 9. If Australia is not able to identify a suitable non-nuclear-powered submarine to meet its Future Submarine criteria, it will need at least 15 years for its domestic industry to undertake the design process for a new conventional submarine .
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Any such new design will likely be larger and more complex than the Collins class in order to improve the capability and operational performance and there would be a very real risk of major time and costs overruns and failure to meet the required outcomes within an appropriate timescale. In addition, a decision to design and build a conventional submarine solely in order to promote domestic industry would be flawed, since most of the major components would likely still be designed and produced by international companies outside of Australia. In relation to logistical support from either the USA or UK, in both countries the submarine industry is increasingly focussed on nuclear-powered submarines, leaving little capacity to assist Australia with diesel-powered submarine designs . Hence, while Australia has received diesel-powered submarine program support from its allies in the past, the extent to which this will continue into the future is uncertain, as such submarines become increasingly obsolete. Any attempt to design a new or modified conventional submarine would be very high risk.
This leaves Australia at a key decision point; whether to invest significant resources in developing its domestic conventional submarine design and construction capability in order to continue to build domestic submarines capable of meeting its requirements; or, make the transition to a nuclear-powered submarine fleet by way of various options, including initially leasing or assembling foreign designed submarines, thereby focussing on developing its capability to operate and maintain such submarines. In either case, maximising local content must not put at risk the time and cost to develop an operational submarine fleet. It will take time and investment to develop the local supply chain capability, a capability that will grow as each submarine is built. The initial submarines, however, must be dictated by genuine local competence, not perceived competence.
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Chapter 3: The Case for Nuclear Powered Submarines To maintain security in its region, Australia needs a strong naval capacity in association with its allies. Submarines have made an important contribution to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), particularly since 1964, when six British Oberon class submarines were purchased. The Collins class (SSK) submarines, built by the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) in Adelaide, entered service between 1996 and 2003 and are the peak of conventional submarine technical and operational achievement. Even so, the dieselelectric propulsion system limits their range, submerged endurance (see below) and speed. The training and accomplishments of the Australian submariners are acknowledged to be world class. The six current Collins class submarines, which replaced the Oberon class submarines, are coming to the end of their design life. New attack type submarines are therefore required. Nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs3) have been operating since 1954 (USA) and 1963 (UK). The main advantages of nuclearâ€“powered submarines are that they act as a deterrent by having the capability of being anywhere in the region; they can remain submerged almost indefinitely and their high speed (compared to conventional diesel-electric boats) enables fast deployment. The recent safety record of nuclear-powered submarines built by the Western nations is excellent. The Australian Government and Navy argue that diesel-electric boats are much quieter than SSNs and therefore have a superior capability for going undetected in shallow coastal waters. Although this has historically been the case (it may not be true for the latest SSN designs), the main detection threat to a submarine is operations either at periscope depth or on the surface, as satellites can detect and follow them readily. Once detected, it is very difficult for a submarine to become hidden from surveillance systems. Therefore, the necessity for diesel-electric boats to surface to refuel is their greatest weakness. This is true both in the coastal and open-water context. In contrast, the tour of duty of SSNs is only limited by the endurance of the crew and the amount of food that can be carried, thus enhancing its stealth. It could be argued that a mixture of both SSN and diesel-electric submarines would provide the best option for the Royal Australian Navy. In the defence area, the advantage of superior technology can profoundly affect outcomes. With its unique maritime challenge, the ADF needs to be equipped with the best possible submarines. An Australian nuclear-powered submarine force would make a significant contribution to security in the Asia-Pacific region.
An SSN is a nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarine. SSN is the US Navy hull classification symbol for such vessels; the SS denotes a submarine and the N denotes nuclear power. 3
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Chapter 4: Design Options A diesel engine requires fuel, oil and air to be mixed prior to combustion. This requirement for air is an obvious problem for submarines. A conventional submarine can operate close to the surface drawing air through a snorkel on the mast, but has to change to battery operated electric motors to submerge. Air-independent propulsion (AIP) allows a conventional submarine to operate without the need to either surface or use a snorkel to access atmospheric air, by either using oxygen stored on board or fuel cells. However, the power and endurance of these systems is limited. A nuclear reactor does not require air to operate and, hence, an SSN can remain submerged indefinitely. The heat from a reactor is used via a steam turbine to generate electricity to power electric motors for propulsion, or for a propeller shaft via a gearbox, or for a water pump jet propulsion system. The water pump jet propulsion is generally quieter than a propeller system.
Since the 1950s, most nuclear-powered submarines have been powered by a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), the same type of reactor used to power the majority of civil nuclear power plants worldwide. Heat is extracted from the reactor core by a closed primary water system. The water is maintained at a high pressure (15 mega-Pascals (MPa) or 150 atmospheres being an example) such that the water never boils and allows high temperatures to be achieved for the water in the primary circuit – around 340°C at 150 atmospheres. A heat exchanger transfers the heat from the primary water system to a secondary water system operating at a lower pressure and producing superheated steam to power the steam turbine. Six countries are known to possess nuclear-powered submarines – USA, UK, France, Russia, China, and India. The submarines are either missile type (SSBN, SSGN4) or attack type (SSN). The Indian Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine is INS Chakra, leased from Russia. Other countries, such as Brazil, are openly contemplating building nuclear–powered submarines. Australia needs an attack type submarine to replace the Collins class. The first of the Future Submarines will need to enter service by the mid to late 2020s. As the possibility of Australia acquiring an attack type nuclear-powered submarine from China or Russia is remote, this leaves three nations most likely to co-operate with Australia on a SSN project, namely, the USA, UK and France. Brief notes on their SSN designs are given below. Although limited information is available, an idea of the unit cost of each SSN can be obtained from Defence budgets. However, any publicly available figures need to be treated with caution.
SSBN refers to nuclear-powered submarines armed with ballistic missiles; SSGN refers to those armed with guided missiles. 4
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USA The US launched the first nuclear-powered submarine in 1954 (USS Nautilus). Since then the US has built a series of attack and ballistic missile submarines. Attack type SSNs in current operation are the Los Angeles class (being phased out), Seawolf class (3 built) and the Virginia class (about 9 in service, building continues). A US-Australia co-operation could be based on the Los Angeles or Virginia class (SSN-774 class). The Virginia class has a 7,900t submerged displacement, a length of 115m and is powered by a General Electric S9G reactor with a 33 year core life. Cost estimate is A$2 - 2.7b each, with an annual operating cost of A$54m each. UK Initially the USA shared technology with the UK, but the UK soon developed its own reactors, built by a division of Rolls Royce based at Derby, England, together with major components from Babcock International, GEC, Weir and Siemens. The submarines are built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in- Furness, in the north west of England, with the reactors being built by Rolls Royce in various factories around the UK, including Derby. Attack type submarines in current operation are the Trafalgar class and the new Astute class. The Trafalgar class are due to be retired in 2022. The first Astute class SSN was commissioned in 2010 and has a displacement of 7,800t submerged, length 97m and is powered by a Rolls Royce PWR 2. Any UK-Australia cooperation would likely be based on the Astute class SSN. The UK is planning for seven Astute class submarines at a cost ofA$2 - 2.5b each. In January 2013, Australia and Britain signed a new treaty to cement strategic links between the two countries. Talks are now underway to examine how the two countries could join forces on military programs, such as frigates, and also to forge close co-operation on submarines. France France has developed its own nuclear-powered submarines. Six Rubis class SSNs are currently in operation. At 2,600t submerged and with a length of 73.6m, they are smaller than the US and UK SSNs. Built by DCNS at Cherbourg, and powered by a 48MW reactor, the first was commissioned in 1983. France is now renewing its attack submarine fleet and DCNS are contracted to supply six Barracuda class SSNs between 2016-2027. With a displacement of 5,300t submerged and a length of 99.4m, these are larger than the existing Rubis class, but still smaller than the new US and UK designs. The 150 MW K15 reactors will be supplied by Areva-TA. Enrichment levels are lower than the US and UK submarines and, hence, refuelling will be required every 10 years.
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Any French-Australia co-operation would likely be based on the Barracuda class SSN. France is planning for six Barracuda class at a cost of â‚Ź1.5b each (A$1.8b). The overall program value is reported as A$12.3b (2011), i.e. A$2b each. For comparison, the cost of conventional submarines to replace the Collins class is currently estimated at A$2-3b each (although for a new design, this may be an underestimate). It is also likely that fewer SSNs than conventional replacements would be required. Although there will be the expense of new facilities to support a SSN program, the overall cost of an SSN program is likely to be competitive with the conventional submarines proposed to replace the Collins class, particularly if a modified design option were to be chosen. However, a full financial study needs to be made in order to understand the economic implications of Australia building, leasing or procuring SSN capability. As can be seen above, Australiaâ€™s allies with SSNs are currently going through replacement programs. Australia could take advantage of this situation to obtain the latest specification SSN â€“ but there could be significant cost, and even more importantly, risk implications (for any MOTS boat) of any material deviation in design. Alternatively, the possibility may exist for Australia to consider leasing a refuelled and refurbished older (but still active) design, such as the Los Angeles or perhaps Trafalgar class submarines, for the fraction of the cost of leasing a newer one. This could serve as a useful transition to a fleet of the latest specifications. The US Navy has performed such upgrades on currently-operational Los Angeles class submarines over the last three decades. However, this option would need to be looked at in more detail in terms of economic and political feasibility and operational military requirements.
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Chapter 5: Lease, Procure or Build? There are three basic approaches to acquiring a fleet of new submarines (irrespective of whether or not they are diesel-electric or nuclear-powered). In practice, these options are a continuum and should not be thought of as concrete cases. Importantly, the different approaches take no account of the financing of the submarines, although where the majority of construction/assembly takes place will have a material effect on the financing mechanisms. 1.
“Lease” the submarine – here the submarine would be completely assembled in the country of design and any major maintenance would almost certainly be performed there. Operationally it is likely that naval engineers from the country of design would be seconded into the Royal Australian Navy, and vice versa, to provide support and training – potentially throughout the operational life of the submarine.
“Procure” the submarine – here the major components of the submarine would be obtained from the country of design, with certain components manufactured locally; the actual construction of the submarine could either be in the country of design or Australia. Under this model more of the maintenance could be performed in Australia.
“Build” the submarine – here some components would (necessarily) be sourced from the country of design (including the reactor and probably the propulsion system), but with a more significant Australian content. It is likely, in view of the complex capabilities needed by the Royal Australian Navy, that the design would have very little Australian influence.
The procurement options that may be available for Australia are, to a large degree, dependent on Australia’s objectives and priorities in developing a nuclear-powered Navy and the political and commercial arrangements able to be negotiated by Australia and a supplier country. Before embarking on procurement discussions, Australia would need to consider the motivating objectives and priorities of a nuclear propulsion program. These objectives may include: • • • • • •
Australian defence and security; Nuclear non-proliferation; Technology transfer to Australia; Training and development of Australian human resource capabilities; Stimulation of federal and state economies through contracts for Australian companies, new jobs for Australians and investment opportunities for Australian companies; and Minimisation of nuclear waste in Australia.
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Once identified, Australia would need to consider procurement mechanisms for the transfer of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia that best meets Australia’s objectives. Australia faces significant infrastructure and workforce challenges whether it chooses to lease, procure or build the next generation of submarines in time to replace its Collin class. Australia’s submarine design and build capability has not been fully sustained, and the current capability is in place mainly to provide operation and maintenance support. The naval architecture skills required to design a new submarine or materially modify an existing design must not be underestimated. They are very significant and represent a major risk to on-time delivery of the capability to a reasonable cost. If Australia decides to design its own conventional submarine in order to meet its Future Submarine requirements, the task will be extremely complex, involving dedicated test and trial facilities, design tools and a highly-skilled workforce . Given the capability requirements, this would be very risky; there would be an exceptionally small pool of international experts who could be sourced to derisk such an approach. If the “Build” option above were based very closely on an existing design from the UK, USA or France, overall project risk, in particular associated with first-of-a-kind technology, may be decreased.
The ASPI report argued that, due to Australia not having a nuclear power industry, it would be highly dependent on a foreign power to operate and maintain a nuclearpowered submarine fleet . On the other hand, it also argued that to avoid delays to its conventional submarine build programs, Australia would need to rely to a large extent on assembling imported components, reinforcing the argument that Australia cannot avoid having some dependence on its larger allies for its submarine programs, regardless of whether they are diesel-electric or nuclear-powered. There appears to be little evidence supporting the argument that Australia would be more dependent on its allies if it leased or acquired nuclear-powered submarines, as opposed to diesel-electric ones.
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Chapter 6: Development of Skills and Expertise Whatever the decision on nuclear-powered versus diesel-electric submarines, Australia will need to develop its local skills and infrastructure in order to meet its Future Submarine requirements. This will require considerable investment, foresight and early action. To support a nuclear-powered option, Australia may be able to initially rely on its allied partners, based locally or offshore, until it was able develop its own nuclear capability for servicing and maintaining the submarine reactors . However, the remainder of the workforce required to build or assemble the non-propulsion aspects of a MOTS nuclear-powered submarine is considerable. Australia will need several thousand skilled workers in place in order to build or assemble the next generation of submarines, and a few hundred more ongoing personnel for the operation and maintenance of the submarine fleet. Australia would also need to develop nuclear regulatory skills in order to safely manage and operate a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines based at Australian ports. Australia does, however, already have substantial experience and expertise in relation to regulating and monitoring the activities of the uranium industry, the operation of Australiaâ€™s nuclear research reactor and from nuclear-propulsion naval vessels entering Australian waters that may require protection of the public and environment from any harmful effects of radiation. In order to further develop its workforce and regulators, Australia would need to consider developing a strategy for international cooperation, support and training from either the USA or UK. Further investigation of successful nuclear regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions should be undertaken e.g. the UKâ€™s regulator involvement in the development of increased operations and maintenance capacity and organisational competence. It should be noted that there is a significant global shortage of nuclear regulatory personnel and that there are significant challenges in developing this capability, although some already exists in Australia to support the OPAL research and medical isotope reactor. In practice, the primary training ground for many potential recruits into nuclear safety inspectorates is a nuclear submarine engineering force. The existing nuclear regulatory bodies in Australia would benefit in the long run from the use of SSNs by the Royal Australian Navy.
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Australiaâ€™s Government has a key role, as the technical authority, in ensuring that submarine capability, safety, design and systems meet their requirements . The Government will require a substantial number of highly-skilled workers to analyse the feasibility of different submarine options, technologies and platforms, and to identify the level of industry support required for the submarine program. In particular, the Australian Government may be required to undertake research activities, maintain testing facilities and develop some of the technology and components where industry is not able to provide this role. The Australian Government currently has around 200 engineers, scientists, and technical workers sufficiently experienced in submarine design or sustainment . The Australian Government will need to expand its submarine workforce and expertise significantly, regardless of whether it pursues either a MOTS nuclear-powered submarine or modifies a conventional submarine to meet the Future Submarine requirements. Based on lessons learned from defence procurement in other countries and from major nuclear projects around the world, it will be essential to ensure that the feasibility analysis and the whole procurement process is managed with a high degree of commercial rationality. A major component of failures in large projects is the systematic under-estimation of the risks associated with design choices and variations and the cost and time consequences should those risks materialise.
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Chapter 7: Waste, maintenance and decommissioning Radioactive waste arising from a nuclear-powered submarine comes in the form of high level waste (HLW), i.e. the spent fuel, and low level (LLW) and intermediate level (ILW) wastes, produced during operations and maintenance procedures and decommissioning (see below). However, the extent to which Australia would have to assume responsibility for the management of such wastes is a matter that would be determined during the procurement cycle. Whichever of the approaches followed, it is virtually certain that the fuel would be provided with the reactor. With the modern design trade-offs indicating that fuelling for life is preferable, issues around refuelling (e.g. the management of spent fuel) would probably not apply and any spent fuel could well be the responsibility of the country of origin, depending on negotiations. Hence, it is possible that Australia would only need to manage short-lived wastes produced during operations and maintenance, which could be done within the facilities already planned for development in Australia. Radioactive Wastes Despite the fact that it is unlikely that Australia would be allowed, or required, to manage the spent fuel resulting from the reactor of a nuclear-powered submarine, it is worth having some discussion here of the types of wastes that can result from operating and maintaining such vessels and the options available for treatment and disposal. Three types of radioactive wastes result from the operation of any nuclear reactor. These are as follows: 1.
Low-level radioactive wastes (LLW): These wastes are dominated by short- lived radionuclides and are entirely consistent with wastes currently generated in Australia at hospitals and in industry. Management of these wastes can be done through storage for a few hundred years in a near surface facility.
Intermediate level wastes (ILW): this typically includes the ion-exchange resins used during operation of the reactor â€“ in civil nuclear operation, ion-exchange resins are used as part of the coolant water cleaning system for the operation of the reactor. This category would also include certain components of the reactor when decommissioned.
3. Spent fuel: The nuclear fuel that comes from a reactor after use is referred to as spent fuel. This fuel contains five distinct elements: a. Fission products b. Uranium c. Plutonium d. Transuranic isotopes e. Activated structural materials
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The management of spent fuel discharged from a reactor calls for one of two actions: recycle or direct disposal. In the recycle option, the goal is to recover the uranium and plutonium contained within the spent fuel. This is done by chopping the fuel into small pieces and then by using wet chemistry, the uranium and plutonium are recovered, leaving the fission products, small quantities of unrecovered uranium and plutonium, and the transuranic isotopes (the activated structural materials are not dissolved but are packaged for disposal). This resulting mix of radioactive elements is referred to as high-level waste (HLW). The chemical process is generically known as PUREX. The process uses concentrated nitric acid and tributyl phosphate (which is thus monitored very carefully in international trade). Every plant that does recycling (known as reprocessing) of nuclear fuel converts the HLW into borosilicate glass. The glass is placed inside of a steel container and this HLW form is then managed. The HLW could also be solidified into Synroc, a specialized HLW form developed by ANSTO, and now used internationally.
The resulting HLW must be managed for many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. This is because the half-lives of the plutonium and transuranic isotopes are very long and isolation is required until the concentrations of these materials are below the level of regulatory and environmental concern. The geological storage facility in which these materials are placed is referred to as a repository. Recycling spent fuel also produces other radioactive waste streams that must be disposed of in a repository, as well as wastes that can be disposed of within the facilities currently being developed in Australia to manage domestic radioactive wastes 5. An alternative to simple geological disposal is being promoted within Russia, China and India; namely, use of fast reactor technology to transmute the high-level waste actinides and other fission waste into relatively short-lived elements. In this approach, it is expected that with proper planning and control, the ultimate waste products would decay to around the same level of activity as the original Uranium ore after 400-500 years. As noted above, the other option for management of the spent fuel is to directly dispose of it without attempting to recover any of the uranium or plutonium. This practice is referred to as “once-through”, referring to the fact that the uranium in this approach is only placed into a reactor once. As with the HLW, the management of spent fuel must be done in a repository. Australia is fortunate to have extraordinary geology that would make the development and licensing of a geological repository easier than in other countries. This statement, however, is limited to technical factors. Like every other country, the ability to develop a repository in Australia would be heavily influenced by stakeholder interaction.
Radioactive wastes are commonly described by the names HLW, ILW and LLW. There is no strict or commonly agreed definition of these terms. Radioactive wastes can be best categorized by their content of long-lived isotopes and their radiation level. It is generally accepted that if a waste contains more than 3,700 Bq/gm of transuranic isotopes, including plutonium, then it should be disposed of in a repository. Depending on the radiation level, the waste is either “contact handled or remote handled”. . The most important takeaway is that recycling spent fuel produces wastes that must be managed in a repository but also produces wastes that can be managed in facilities that handle more common wastes such as those from radioactive medical applications. 5
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The commitment to develop a repository would be costly and require a significant technical and regulatory effort. Experience in other countries suggests that the price would be many billions of dollars. Having said that, the experience in Finland and Sweden shows that this is a process capable of sensible management and delivery provided appropriate decisions are made on a timely basis. As part of the UKâ€™s Funded Waste and Decommissioning legislation, the costings for a UK repository were updated and a complex parametric model developed. At its heart, a repository is a mining operation in reverse and with proper and careful engineering, the operation of the repository could be relatively straightforward. Domestic maintenance The regular maintenance dry dock facility requirements will be nuclear licenced sites subject to all the safety and licencing requirements of any operational nuclear site. The facilities will therefore have very high geotechnical specification as the boats, when they enter and leave, will be fuelled and live. The sites for dry dock will have to be unaffected by earthquake risk and should there be any possibility of tsunami risk, the facility would need to be protected by an appropriate sea-wall. Domestic maintenance of the submarine would entail some elements of low-risk work to the reactor facility and as such would be subject to normal nuclear reactor maintenance licence controls. It is unlikely that any major maintenance of the reactor would take place in Australia, unless a phased approach to procurement took place where, for instance, the first boat would be leased (to provide capability quickly), with more of the final assembly carried out locally for subsequent vessels. In such a case it would be likely that the reactor designer and manufacturer would develop a local expert facility, should the program size warrant it. Vessel decommissioning At the end of the useful life of a SSN, it will have to be decommissioned. The majority of this effort is non-nuclear, as radioactive material will be confined to a very limited portion of the boat. However, the issue of decommissioning is particularly important when considering public perception and acceptance issues. The process of decommissioning is straightforward, and is undertaken throughout the world on both nuclear-powered submarines as well as at routine nuclear facilities. Already present in Australia are companies with expertise in decommissioning of nuclear submarines and other facilities. However, it is possible that an Australia SSN at the end of its life could be decommissioned overseas. It is likely that, for security reasons, the decommissioning of the reactor itself may be reserved for the country of origin â€“ or at least companies and workers from that country. It is possible that this part of the decommissioning may, nonetheless, be able to take place in Australia, although this will depend on detailed discussions between governments. Certainly, the non-nuclear elements of a submarine could be sent to salvage facilities elsewhere. The issue of decommissioning the radioactive components relates to responsibilities determined under the lease or procurement agreements. With the exception of the nuclear fuel in the reactor, all of the radioactive waste produced in the decommissioning of a nuclear submarine should be lower-level and manageable within facilities being investigated for domestic radioactive wastes. Any costs for waste management and decommissioning must be considered from the outset. 22 of 34
Chapter 8: Security Issues SSN reactors are, by virtue of the very confined space and low-noise requirements, at a different level of sophistication than civil nuclear reactors. Since it is extremely unlikely that any novel designs could be contemplated, then it is possible that premanufactured elements from the country of design could be assembled locally. Indeed, for any option other than outright operational leasing, it is possible that final assembly of the reactor in Australia may be preferred for security reasons to the transhipment of completed reactor assemblies. It is likely that the submarine reactor constructor would then establish an Australian business to complete the assembly of the reactor. Local assembly of the reactor and other components, and vessel construction and maintenance, would impose stringent security clearance and licensing requirements on the assembly facilities and shipyards where the activities take place. Although security arrangements would be required for all personnel involved in the program, these are common in the defence sector and should pose no unusual challenges. In addition, these requirements should not in any manner inhibit operations and maintenance options. However, export of any item that is considered specially designed or modified for a military/defence application will be strictly controlled by the country of origin, for example by the USAâ€™s International Traffic & Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the UKâ€™s Export Control Organisation (ECO) requirements. This would apply to both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered submarines. Hence, operating and maintaining an SSN capability would need to be done within the confines of any applicable international treaty obligations and the commercial deal and procurement arrangements that Australia negotiates with a supplier country/company. Such obligations will likely emerge across most, if not all, of the supply chain issues (see Section 9 below).
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Chapter 9: International and National Law The development of a nuclear-powered submarine capability in Australia would require consideration and resolution of the following legal issues: •
The treatment of naval nuclear propulsion under the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (“NPT”) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) safeguards regime and actions to be taken by Australia with regards to safeguards commitments;
Applicability of Australia’s existing international obligations, including those contained in international nuclear treaties and conventions to which Australia is a party;
Bilateral agreements and applicable export controls to enable the procurement and transfer of naval nuclear propulsion technology from a supplier state to Australia;
Development of an institutional and legal apparatus in Australia to govern a nuclear-powered submarine capability, either within the existing institutional framework or pursuant to a new framework; and
Procurement mechanisms for the transfer of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
Many of these policy issues identified in this paper would also require legal action, through international and bilateral initiatives and/or legislative implementation. NPT and IAEA safeguards The IAEA safeguards system is a set of technical measures by which the IAEA independently verifies that states are complying with NPT obligations. Under the NPT and the IAEA safeguards regime, non-nuclear weapons states may use fissile materials for military, non-explosive purposes, such as naval propulsion. Naval nuclear propulsion is currently utilised by the USA, Russia, China, France and the UK, all of which are “nuclear-weapons states” as defined by the NPT. Additionally, India launched its first nuclear-powered submarine in 2009, but India is not a signatory to the NPT, and is outside the NPT regime. Other than India, the development and utilisation of nuclear propulsion by “non-nuclear-weapons states” (as defined by the NPT) is unprecedented. A non-nuclear weapon state’s withdrawal from IAEA safeguards of nuclear material for use in military naval propulsion is likely to be a contentious issue internationally and one that Australia would need to carefully consider and address as a matter of government policy. To date, no non-nuclear-weapons states have utilised the provision contained in the IAEA’s model Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (“CSA”) to remove nuclear material from IAEA safeguards for this purpose and so the precise interpretation and application of these arrangements is untested.
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Australia is a party to the NPT and has concluded a CSA with the IAEA. Australiaâ€™s CSA contains the model CSA provision stating that if Australia intends to exercise its discretion to use nuclear material in a nuclear activity that does not require the application of safeguards, Australia will be required to inform, and agree to certain arrangements, with the IAEA. There is international concern that nuclear material, particularly HEU, that has been removed from IAEA safeguards (whether located either in a shipboard reactor or in a stockpile dedicated to future use in a shipboard reactor) poses a threat to international nuclear non-proliferation. Hence, for Australia to have a nuclear-powered submarine capability, the Australian Government would need to consider its position on the treatment of naval nuclear propulsion under the NPT and take the actions required by its safeguards commitments. Although other countries may not be overly concerned by the transfer of nuclear material and technology to Australia for use in naval nuclear propulsion and removal of IAEA safeguards from nuclear material in such circumstances, some may be concerned that this sets an undesirable precedent and implies tacit international support for such transfers generally. However, if Australia decides to pursue naval nuclear propulsion, then Australia could both champion and be the first test case of an initiative to institute a verification regime for nuclear material, particularly highly enriched uranium fuel, used in naval programs.
International nuclear treaties and conventions In addition to its non-proliferation commitments, Australia is a party to other international nuclear treaties and conventions only some of which are applicable in the context of naval nuclear propulsion. Australiaâ€™s existing commitments under these other international nuclear treaties and conventions would not be affected by the development of naval nuclear capabilities. Nor would Australia need to adopt any additional nuclear treaties and conventions in such circumstances, as most do not apply in the context of military applications of nuclear energy. Bilateral cooperation and export controls The trade of nuclear commodities and technology is subject to control by various multilateral, bilateral and national export control regimes. These regimes are generally restricted to export for peaceful purposes and do not apply to military applications. Trade relating to defence items (including nuclear materials for military purposes) is generally controlled through a separate regime, including both national export controls and bilateral agreements. Any transfer to Australia of nuclearpowered submarines and related equipment, components and technology, would be subject to these controls.
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Potential supplier countries are likely to have different national regimes and may have divergent existing agreements with Australia. Supplier countries may also express different levels of willingness to enter into new agreements with Australia to facilitate the transfer of nuclear propulsion technology. As one example, in the United States, the export of any item that is considered specially designed or modified for a military/defence application is controlled under ITAR. The ITAR’s U.S. Munitions List (“USML”), which lists all of the items controlled for export from the United States under ITAR, includes at Category VI(e) naval nuclear propulsion plants, their land prototypes, and special facilities for their construction, support, and maintenance. Export of defence articles listed on the USML and any technical data and defence services related to such articles require a license from the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”), unless an exemption from licensing requirements under ITAR applies. ITAR exemptions are very limited in scope and export of naval propulsion equipment, technical data or services from the United States to Australia will most likely require an export license from DDTC. Existing agreements between the USA and Australia would mean that such licences should be expeditiously processed. Once the item or technology is received in Australia, it will be subject to certain conditions set out in the export license, such as use and retransfer restrictions. Therefore, a number of bilateral actions and supplier country authorisations may be necessary to facilitate Australia’s potential development of a nuclear-powered submarine capability. Australia would need to consider bilateral agreements and applicable export controls to enable the procurement and transfer of naval nuclear propulsion technology from a supplier state to Australia. National laws and institutions If Australia decides to pursue the development of naval nuclear propulsion capability, it will need to consider the manner in which it will domestically regulate the program. Unlike civil nuclear programs, which are usually overseen by an independent nuclear regulator that is distinct from the entities engaged in promotion and utilisation of nuclear energy, some countries with nuclear-powered navies undertake design, operations and regulation under an umbrella institution within the country’s security or defence apparatus, which is separate to civilian nuclear institutions 6. Australia would need to consider the development of an institutional and legal apparatus in Australia to govern a naval nuclearpowered submarine capability, within the existing institutional framework or pursuant to a new framework.
In the UK, the nuclear safety regime covering nuclear submarine reactors (and, indeed, nuclear weapons manufacturing establishments) is regulated by the same nuclear safety regulator as civilian nuclear power. 6
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Australia has an existing institutional and regulatory apparatus governing nuclear and radiation matters. Due to the security and defence purpose of a naval nuclear propulsion capability, Australia may determine to develop a new, dedicated entity to be responsible for a nuclear-powered Navy within the Royal Australian Navy of the Australian Defence Force. All functions, including development, operations and regulation may be the responsibility of this new entity. To a large degree, such an entity could self-regulate. Associated activities, such as relating to source material, transportation of nuclear material, importation of fuel, possible exportation of spent fuel and the storage and disposal of nuclear waste, may also be separated from the regimes for existing civilian operations and be the purview of this entity. Therefore, it is possible that the existing Australian agencies with responsibility for nuclear and radiation matters will have limited primary responsibilities with regards to a Navy nuclear-powered capability. In reviewing its own institutional and regulatory apparatus, Australia may consider the institutional and regulatory apparatuses adopted by other states that operate nuclear-powered warships. Australia may consider whether any of the models employed by these states provide a suitable precedent for Australia. Indeed, considering the extent of cooperation that may be involved between Australia and the supplier country, it may be appropriate for Australia to consider modelling its own apparatus on that of the supplier country, so as to facilitate cooperation.
Ultimately, whatever structure is employed, changes to Australiaâ€™s existing institutional and regulatory apparatus may be required, both to clarify the jurisdiction of the existing institutions with responsibilities for nuclear and radiation matters and also to establish and mandate new institutions.
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Chapter 10: Conclusion This paper has identified the key issues in relation to developing a nuclear-powered submarine capability in Australia, including the necessary infrastructure, workforce, legislative and regulatory (both national and international) requirements and the barriers to implementation. The issues raised in this paper are complex and profoundly affect the Future Submarine decision making process. There are many options available to Australia that must be considered in detail and there are many national and international political, policy and legal issues that will need to be addressed in different ways depending on the final option selected. The true costs of each option also need to be carefully determined, reflecting all aspects of the capability required, from education and training through to decommissioning and waste management. Learning lessons from Australiaâ€™s allies must be an essential step. A comprehensive study of the issues identified in this paper should be commissioned by the Australian Government, focussed on identifying the lessons learnt from other nations with nuclear-powered submarine capability and defining the Government and industry strategies required to develop such capability in Australia.
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References:  Department of Defence, 2009 Defence White Paper: Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, 2009.  Capability Development Group (CDG) and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Defence Capability Plan: Public Version 2012, Department of Defence, 2012.  Department of Defence , 2013 Defence White Paper: Defending Australia and National Interest, Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, 2013.  Cowan S., Future Submarine Project Should Raise Periscope for Another Look, The Centre for Independent Studies, CIS Policy Monograph 130, 2012.  Davies A. and Thomson M., Mind the Gap, Getting Serious About Submarines, Strategic Insights 57, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2012.  Birkler et al., Australiaâ€™s Submarine Design Capabilities and Capacities: Challenges and Options for the Future Submarine, RAND Corporation, 2011.  Golder Associates, International Radioactive Waste Management: A Compendium of Programs and Standards, Published by WM Symposia, Inc., Tucson, Arizona, USA; edited by James Voss, 1995.
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Australian Defence Force
Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Australian Submarine Corporation
Capability Development Group
Centre for Independent Studies
Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement
Defence Capability Plan
Directorate of Defense Trade Controls
Defence Materiel Organisation
Export Control Organisation
highly enriched uranium
high level waste
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Energy Policy Institute
intermediate level waste
International Traffic & Arms Regulations
low level waste
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Off the Shelf
Pressurised Water Reactor
nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine
nuclear-powered fleet guided missiles submarine
nuclear-powered attack submarine
Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel
University College London
United States of America
U.S. Munitions List
United States Navy
unmanned undersea vehicles
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About the Authors This position paper, on the key issues in relation to developing a nuclear-powered submarine capability in Australia, has been produced by an international team of experts assembled by the UCL International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI), Australia.
Professor Stefaan J R Simons, CEng FIChemE Stefaan is the Director of the IEPI and BHP Billiton Chair of Energy Policy. He has over 200 publications and is a chartered chemical engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. His research is focussed on low carbon energy technologies and innovations for the energy and chemicals sectors and he has particular experience in nuclear fuel reprocessing and waste disposal. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Tony Owen Tony is Professor of Energy Economics in the IEPI and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (FSS), and Past President (2004) of the International Association for Energy Economics. In 2007, at the invitation of the Premier of New South Wales (NSW), he chaired the Inquiry into Electricity Supply in NSW. Tony has had a long-time research interest in the economics of uranium and nuclear power, having first published in this area almost three decades ago with his book The Economics of Uranium.
Dr Tim Stone, CBE Tim is the founder and former chairman of KPMG’s Global Infrastructure & Projects Group and was from 2006 to March 2013 the Senior Advisor to the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Expert Chair, Office for Nuclear Development. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Honorary Fellow of the Nuclear Institute and a Visiting Professor of the IEPI. He was decorated in 2010 with a CBE for services to the energy industry.
Mr James Brown James is a current UCL PhD student in the IEPI, researching the economics, costs and benefits of further developing Australia’s uranium resources and nuclear industry supply chain capabilities. He has published papers on Australia’s future nuclear workforce requirements, undertaken economic modelling of nuclear power plant, decommissioning and waste costs, and is currently producing research papers on the economic and policy considerations in relation to uranium enrichment and small modular reactors in Australia.
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Mr James Voss James is a nuclear engineer and is currently a Partner of Predicus, LLC, as well as the President of the Terra Verde Group of Companies in the USA. He has published over 60 papers focused on the safe management of nuclear materials. He is a Fellow of the UK Nuclear Institute, and a UK and European Union Chartered Engineer. Mr Voss has focused his career on the management of nuclear wastes. He has advised governments and nuclear organisations in over 40 countries.
Mr Tony Irwin Tony is Technical Director of SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd and Chair of Engineers Australia Nuclear Engineering Panel. He is a chartered electrical engineer who worked for British Energy in the UK for more than 30 years, commissioning and operating eight nuclear power plants. In 1999 he moved to Australia and was Reactor Manager for the commissioning and early operation of ANSTO’s new OPAL research reactor. He is also a visiting lecturer for the Master of Nuclear Science course at the ANU.
Ms Helen Cook Helen is a senior associate in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s nuclear energy group, focussed on international nuclear energy matters. Based in the USA, she has a particular interest in the development of nascent civilian nuclear power programs and nuclear new build projects and has advised governments, owner/developers, nuclear power plant vendors, equipment suppliers and export credit agencies on international nuclear law, bilateral nuclear cooperation and national nuclear law and regulation. Ms Cook is author of The Law of Nuclear Energy, Sweet & Maxwell (forthcoming).
Mr Roland Backhaus Roland is an associate in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s nuclear energy group, where he represents clients in the nuclear energy industry on a variety of regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters. Prior to joining Pillsbury, he was a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and served as the Assistant Chief Engineer for an Engineered Refuelling Overhaul of an S8G naval nuclear propulsion reactor plant.
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UCL International Energy Policy Institute Adelaide, AUSTRALIA August 2013
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Developing a nuclear-powered submarine may present no greater challenge for Australia than developing its own uniquely modified conventional...