Commenting on the opinion piece: Nuclear-level spin masks a massive failure
It would be prudent for the Australian government to inform the Australian people on the strategic, environmental, commercial, and political ramifications and consequences before deciding on the acquisition of nuclear-powered attack submarines.
We need to fully appreciate the issues and complexities associated with the design, assembly, operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines powered with highly enriched (HEU) weapons-grade uranium. We need to understand that the acquisition of HEU-235 fissile material would challenge the spirit if not the letter of the Treaty of Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We need to be satisfied that we have capacity to develop and deploy the management systems and procedures necessary to safely operate and maintain these vessel at sea and in port.
I would be pleased to see the Attack Class boat – which is neither fish nor fowl, neither nuke nor conventional submarine – contract cancelled, but not before a meaningful, highly capable submarine replacement program is in place for the Collins Class. Thus, if the government doesn’t immediately commit to six conventional-powered AIP subs that can be in service by mid-2030 the RAN will have no submarine squadron save for a few ageing Collins boats.
Basing a squadron of USN nukes in Australian waters would be – I believe – politically untenable. Nuclear submarines are not deployed in the Baltic for obvious reasons, likewise, deploying 8000t Astute or Virginia-type submarines in the littoral waters of the SCS would be suicidal.
I agree entirely with senator Patrick’s comments. – Hans J Ohff, ASC managing director 1993-2002
What bothers me is that this momentous decision was announced without a debate or vote in Parliament and without public…