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Does Australia need nuclear-powered submarines and a nuclear-power sector?

Naval operations Submarines Energy industries Nuclear energy Australia

Australia badly needs a modern submarine fleet to replace its ageing Collins-class submarines in order to ensure the security of its sea lines of communication in an increasingly volatile Indo-Pacific region. Its future submarines will be required to operate further from home, including in the South China Sea.

Key points:

  • To a very large degree, anything associated with a nuclear industry or which has a nuclear basis, whether civilian or military, is anathema in Australia.
  • Such thinking impedes Australia’s climate commitments, as well as its defence strategy.
  • The delays and cost overruns that now hinder Australia’s Attack-class submarines ought to provide further reason to revisit the need for a domestic nuclear sector.
  • By countering some of the arguments put forward against the creation of a domestic nuclear sector, this paper attempts to restart the discussion of the advantages to be gained from one.
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