Here's why the news about Australia getting nuclear submarines with the help of the US and UK is a big deal

If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of hype around today about a deal to make Australia one of the few countries in the world equipped with nuclear submarines.

After all, it’s not every day the UK Prime Minister and US President join Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a live defence announcement (even if the latter appeared to forget Mr Morrison’s name, referring to him as “that fellow Down Under”).

But if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, and why the government cares so much about submarines, here’s what you need to know.

Why is Australia getting nuclear submarines?

Australia already has a fleet of submarines, known as Collins Class, but they’re getting old.

For more than a decade, Australia has been seeking to upgrade and replace them, and we were several years into a deal with a French shipbuilder to have 12 new submarines built.

But that program has come with delays and blowouts, and would have delivered conventional diesel-electric submarines, like the Collins Class.

Australia’s instead going to pull out of that deal and form a new partnership with the US and UK. Those countries will share their secrets to get an Australian nuclear fleet off the ground (or under the water).

Why would the UK and US do this? 

They trust Australia with their technology and know that a boosted Australian presence in the Indo-Pacific will exert Western influence in the region as China’s power grows.

“This is about investing in our greatest source of strength — our alliances — and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” US President Joe Biden said of the partnership.

Mr Morrison said it was now in Australia’s interest to  bail on the deal with France and instead go nuclear.

“[It] is not a change of mind, it’s a change of need,” he said.

“The developments that have occurred since 2016 do now make a nuclear-powered submarine fleet a feasible option for Australia.”

Which countries have nuclear submarines?

A small number of countries are capable of running nuclear submarines, and all are nuclear-armed powers.

Only the US, UK, France, Russia, China and India currently have nuclear subs in the water, so the deal will see Australia joining an exclusive club.

But Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said the real impact was what this meant for Australia’s naval capability and influence in the waters surrounding it.

“America is going to be looking to Australia to play a leading role in this part of the world, stabilising the Pacific Islands region and South-East Asia,” he said.

“It’s not surprising that the countries of the Indo-Pacific, including the United States, now feel that there has to be some response [to China’s growing power].”

However Chris Barrie, who was the chief of defence in the late 90s and early 2000s, said nuclear submarines had been discussed for decades and would not dramatically transform the region.

“Some in China might well say this is a response to our concerns over China, but, you know, the conversation about acquiring nuclear-powered submarines has been going on since the 1960s,” he said.

In general, submarines are also incredibly expensive. The 12-submarine project that Australia just ditched was worth $90 billion.

There’s no word yet on how much the new nuclear deal may cost and it’s unclear how much Australia might have to pay to scuttle its deal with France.

Mr Morrison said $2.4 billion had already been spent on that program.

What does it mean that these submarines are nuclear?

There’s a difference between a nuclear-powered submarine and a nuclear-armed submarine. 

The subs being acquired by Australia won’t have nuclear weapons, but they will have nuclear reactors instead of conventional diesel-electric propulsion systems.

That gives them a huge advantage over conventional submarines, as they’re faster, quieter, need to surface less often and don’t need to be refuelled.

But there are those with concerns about the safety of nuclear reactors.

Greens leader Adam Bandt referred to nuclear submarines as “floating Chernobyls”, and said his party would vehemently oppose the new partnership.

Australia doesn’t have much domestic nuclear capability, and the UK, US will work with Australia over the next 18 months to determine how the plan will be delivered, including how the subs will be fuelled.

“The management of waste, the disposal of the submarine at the end of its life, all of those are issues where we will be engaging with our US and UK partners,” Defence department secretary Greg Moriarty said.

So what happens to the France submarine deal?

Australia will be pulling out of the deal to have French shipbuilder Naval Group deliver a dozen conventional submarines, however the details on how that will happen and what that might cost remain unclear.

“As a Prime Minister, I must make decisions that are in Australia’s national security,” Mr Morrison said. 

“I know that France would do the same.”

The deal was inked in 2016. Responding to Australia’s decision to end it, the French government said it could only “note and regret” the move.

“This is a decision contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia,” a French Foreign Ministry statement said.

Mr Jennings said the decision to ditch the French deal in favour of nuclear subs was not without irony.

“When we chose the French-designed submarine a few years ago, we actually took a nuclear-powered submarine and have been spending millions of dollars turning it into a diesel submarine,” he said.

“We appear to be walking away from that.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

A message from doctors to anti-vaxxers

© Provided by MalaysiaNow Those who are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccines but still refuse to get vaccinated will only make life more difficult for themselves as they will not ... Read more »

Best interest rates on savings accounts: Do you qualify for this 3.5% rate?

This rate is only available to existing building society customers and is not an incentive to encourage new customers to sign up. To qualify they must have opened an account ... Read more »

State pension: Britons forced to wait longer for free bus pass after rule change

Similarly, residents who live in parts of the country, such as London, are able to travel locally for free on the bus, tube and other means of transport after they ... Read more »

Sajat ‘lari' ke Australia

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Nur Sajat. (Gambar Instagram) PETALING JAYA: Usahawan kosmetik, Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruzzaman atau Nur Sajat didakwa menetap di Australia dan memberi bayangan untuk tidak kembali ... Read more »

(KEMAS KINI) 5,434 kes Covid-19, 682 di ICU

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PETALING JAYA: Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM) melaporkan rekod kes harian Covid-19 dengan 5,434 jangkitan dikesan dalam tempoh 24 jam lalu. Dalam kenyataan media hari ini, ... Read more »

Damani's DMart turns 20-bagger. But analysts see up to 54% plunge ahead!

NEW DELHI: At Monday’s high of Rs 5,899.90, shares of DMart were up nearly 20 times over its IPO issue price of Rs 299. This is even as the retailer ... Read more »

Glamorous Instagram influencer allegedly drove 'three times over the limit' and flipped her Jeep after hitting three parked cars on the way back from a wedding

Instagram influencer Patricia Hadija charged with high-range drink driving The 27-year-old allegedly crashed into three parked cars and rolled her Jeep She had earlier on Saturday posted a photo attending a wedding reception  Read more »

China stopping overseas coal finance to cut as much emissions as Europe going net-zero

China’s recent decision to end financial support for building new coal plants abroad could make a major difference in global efforts to limit the use of fossil fuels. The International ... Read more »

Motorist fined after CCTV confuses his number plate with woman's T-shirt

David Knight was baffled when he received a fine for driving in a bus lane in Bath – about 120 miles away from his home. But the builder and his ... Read more »

I'm a theme park ride operator – and these are the worst things guests have ever done

A THEME park worker who operated the rides revealed the worst thing that ever happened while on the job – with one guest having diarrhoea on the rollercoaster. In a ... Read more »

Heavy-handed Melbourne police 'check coffee cups' to ensure residents aren't violating mask mandates

Heavy-handed Melbourne police ‘check coffee cups‘ to ensure residents aren’t violating mask mandates – JAMES ROSS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock Footage has emerged of police in Victoria checking people’s coffee cups in a ... Read more »

From Chris Packham to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 7 people on what COP26 actually needs to achieve

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe describes the Paris Agreement as a “potluck dinner” where nations are charged with bringing enough food to the table to feed the waiting crowd. The climate ... Read more »

‘Where's the logic?': how England's ‘no jab, no job' policy will hit a care worker

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian Carol Thomas, a retired health academic who lives with multiple sclerosis, is about to lose not just a carer but a ... Read more »

Timpson to pay for HRT prescriptions for staff going through menopause

© PA Timpson has offered to pay for HRT medication for staff going through menopause High street chain Timpson has announced it will pay for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions ... Read more »

India has second largest number of unicorns; Sequoia top investor, says PwC India report

© Provided by Business Today India has second largest number of unicorns; Sequoia top investor, says PwC India report India has the second largest number of unicorns and is only ... Read more »

Sir David Amess killing: Suspect's online activity may be the most relevant factor in fatal stabbing

© PA Wire There are other mysteries too, including whether Sir David Amess was targeted specifically because of his links to Qatar – PA Wire Top of the list of ... Read more »

Over 27,000 Cattle Died On Railway Tracks Between April 2020 and March 2021

© Provided by News18 Over 27,000 Cattle Died On Railway Tracks Between April 2020 and March 2021 From March 2020 to April 2021, despite trains not running at their full ... Read more »

Get a grip, Priti Patel – laughing gas isn't a major threat to individuals or society

© Matt Cardy/Getty Images The ACMD recommended against making nitrous oxide possession illegal in 2015 – Matt Cardy/Getty Images As home secretary, Priti Patel says that she intends to take ... Read more »

Wales launches drive to stop young people leaving as ‘brain drain' threatens public services

© Getty Images/iStockphoto iStock-1194380184.jpg Extra support for business startups is among a range of measures being considered by Welsh ministers aiming to keep more young people in their homeland as ... Read more »

Shah to chair internal security meet with state DGPs, IGPs, CAPF chiefs

© Provided by The Statesman Shah to chair internal security meet with state DGPs, IGPs, CAPF chiefs Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a closed-door meeting on Monday to ... Read more »

Bank warning: Contactless card limit rises to £100 - how to avoid being scammed

This most recent change came into effect on October 15, 2021 and is the fifth time the card payment threshold has been raised since 2017. The last limit was £45 ... Read more »

5 best practices to prevent insider trading in India

© Provided by CNBCTV18 Harry S. Truman once said, “It is selfishness and greed, individual or national, that causes most of our troubles.” Ultimately, insatiable greed that has permeated the ... Read more »

Merck: Up to licensed partners to apply for molnupiravir EUA in Philippines

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & ... Read more »

Eleazar orders NCR cops to determine if additional personnel needed in public areas

© PNP PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar has tasked the unit commanders in the National Capital Region to determine if ... Read more »

617 NCR families affected by granular lockdowns –DILG

© Danny Pata Residents wait for their orders of food and other items at the corner of H. Santos Street in Barangay Tejeros, Makati City on Saturday, September 18, 2021. ... Read more »

Budget 2021 predictions: What to expect in Rishi Sunak's autumn budget from minimum wage rise to tax changes

Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget and Spending Review to the Commons next week, setting out the government’s spending and financial strategy. He is expected to unveil a number of ... Read more »

Moon commits S. Korea to 40pc cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

© Provided by The Statesman Moon commits S. Korea to 40pc cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 South Korea has decided to increase its target reduction level of greenhouse ... Read more »

'Forty hot flushes a day made life hell': Woman urges others to seek help for menopause symptoms after her own horrific experience

Monday 18 October 2021 marks World Menopause Day – the ideal time for women like Lorraine (pictured) to share their struggles and encourage others to seek help. (Supplied) When she ... Read more »

Thieves break into four East Hartford stores overnight in failed ATM cash grab

A group of thieves broke into four East Hartford stores overnight in a failed attempt to steal ATM cash, police said Monday. The four thieves weren’t able to get any ... Read more »

Murder of Sir David Amess an ‘attack on democracy' – Lord Dodds

A veteran DUP politician who survived two attempts on his life during his political career has described the murder of MP Sir David Amess as an attack on democracy. Lord ... Read more »

Diver finds 900-year-old sword off Israeli coast

© Provided by The National The metre-long sword from the Crusader period was found by a scuba diver on the seabed off the Carmel Coast. Photo: Shlomi Katzin/Israel Antiquities Authority ... Read more »

3 Signs your partner is your best friend too

Disappointing appraisal, that long-due promotion further deferred, and a hard-to-please boss, definitely calls for a venting session with your best friend. But is it your partner, and not your girl ... Read more »

Closing Bell: Sensex jumps 450 points; Nifty near 18,500; HDFC Bank, Tata Steel surge

© Provided by CNBCTV18 The Indian equity benchmark indices closed at record highs for the sixth straight session led by buying across the sectors. The breadth of the market is neutral ... Read more »

Good news for Delhiites! Now, you can travel in metro without smartcards - Here's how

© Provided by DNA The metro rail is hands down one of the most used public transports and easy to access as well. As the national capital is seeing a ... Read more »

Stock Market Highlights: Sensex ends 460 points higher, Nifty50 at 18,477 as market extends gains to fresh peaks

15:58:35 IST Market At Close | Hindalco, Infosys, Tech Mahindra top gainers; HCL Tech, M&M, Asian Paints top laggards 15:42:10 IST Closing Bell | Sensex ends 460 points hgiher at ... Read more »

India's cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 97.79 crore, recovery rate highest since March 2020

© Provided by The Statesman India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 97.79 crore, recovery rate highest since March 2020 With the administration of 12,05,162 vaccine doses in the last 24 ... Read more »

Gesellschaft: Nur 2,9 Prozent der Schweizer fühlen sich vollkommen ausgeschlossen

Nur drei von 100 Einwohnern der Schweiz fühlen sich überhaupt nicht in die Gesellschaft integriert. Aber jeder Fünfte hat das Gefühl, ein bisschen ausgeschlossen zu sein. Besonders betroffen sind Ausländer, ... Read more »

Bidens seen violating DC's indoor mask mandate

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were seen flouting a Washington DC restaurant’s mask policy on October 16, 2021. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden and ... Read more »

Farmers ‘Rail Roko' Protest Highlights: Protesters block railway tracks in Punjab and Haryana, 50 trains affected

© Provided by The Financial Express Rail Roko Agitation Live Updates: The SKM said during the ‘rail roko’ protest, all train traffic will be stopped for six hours from 10 ... Read more »

Something wrong in Jammu-Kashmir, outsiders deliberately attacked: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

In the wake of migrant workers being slayed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dialled the Union Territory’s LG Manoj Sinha and expressed concern over ... Read more »