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This is a discussion on Submarine news within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by John Fedup The USN's most successful current program, the Virginia sub, has a recently discovered QC problem. ...


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Old March 31st, 2016   #46
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The USN's most successful current program, the Virginia sub, has a recently discovered QC problem. So far, it only applies to three vessels and has to do with faulty steam pipes. Considering how complex these vessels are, the program has an impressive record.

Shoddy pipes trip up one of Navy's top shipbuilding programs
Just imagine if the same level of problem had been found on a Collins, i.e. a substandard item from a contractor identified and replaced before failure. Yep it would have been dud subs all over again and the guilty party getting off Scott free while the RAN, ASC and poor old Kim Beazley copped all the blame again.
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Old April 1st, 2016   #47
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Stuff happens, having local support (which Canada has) that can deal with "nuclear" stuff just makes things easier and likely less expensive. Australia lacks this support so having SSNs is a steeper climb. Neither Canada or Australia will go for SSNs albeit for different reasons and both Electric Boat and Newport News would be hard pressed to offer export Virginias especially since the Ohio replacement is in the works. Perhaps the UK, US, Australia, and Canada should consider a future SSN for post 2050.
Australia has a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, this is the second one at this location, it's only 20MW but it is a reactor which has to be maintained to the same standards as any other reactor.
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Old April 1st, 2016   #48
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Australia has a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, this is the second one at this location, it's only 20MW but it is a reactor which has to be maintained to the same standards as any other reactor.
Correct, a new open-pool reactor replaced the HIFAR reactor which ran from about 1960 to 2006. However the industrial infrastructure required for operating a research reactor doesn't compare with Canada's nuclear industry which designs and builds reactors. With 18 power plant reactors currently running in Canada, there are plenty of nuclear technologists available in the unlikely event the RCN were to obtain SSNs. This is the only reason the SSN path for Canada would be easier as compared to Australia. Again, neither country will follow this path any time soon and if the polar ice disappears Canada won't need to.

Last edited by John Fedup; April 1st, 2016 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old April 1st, 2016   #49
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Australia has a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, this is the second one at this location, it's only 20MW but it is a reactor which has to be maintained to the same standards as any other reactor.
It was a turn key project and is a research reactor that also produces isotopes for medical purposes, it is staffed by research scientists and research technicians, so a very different sort of set up to a reactor designed for baseload power generation. There are not the large number of process engineers and techs a commercial reactor has, there are not the specialist project managers and project engineers you need for building and doing major work on reactors, these are contracted in when as required, as there is simply not enough work to maintain the capability locally. Just look at the grief the Soviets got themselves into by stuffing around and lacking professionalism in nuclear operations, not the sort of thing that would ever be acceptable in Australia.

*Whoops sorry John, didn't see your post before I replied.
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Old April 1st, 2016   #50
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Designed & built by the Argentinean firm INVAP.
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Old April 1st, 2016   #51
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Diesel is hard to beat. Great advances in Li-ion battery technology have been occurring and I would think they are now an acceptable alternative to chemical AIP systems and safer as well. Isn't the new Soryu to forego the Stirling AIP in favour of high performance Li-ion battery banks?
Noticed in the Melbourne "Age" an article on Zcells. A new storage battery technology which may be more suitable for the RAN future submarine than Li-ion batteries. In no way an expert in evolving battery technology but perhaps it may pay for the RAN to investigate & trial this 'new' battery technology?

Try Google to access links to this battery, "Zcell electric battery"

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Old April 2nd, 2016   #52
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Noticed in the Melbourne "Age" an article on Zcells. A new storage battery technology which may be more suitable for the RAN future submarine than Li-ion batteries. In no way an expert in evolving battery technology but perhaps it may pay for the RAN to investigate & trial this 'new' battery technology?

Try Google to access links to this battery, "Zcell electric battery"

Interesting technology which was developed in Australia by Redfow. Not sure if the liquid ZnBr electrolyte would be suitable in subs but I am sure the RAN would want to compare it the the current Li-ion technology (and whatever else might be in development) for their future subs.
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Old April 2nd, 2016   #53
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Australia has a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, this is the second one at this location, it's only 20MW but it is a reactor which has to be maintained to the same standards as any other reactor.
Fact check ...... Third actually. HIRAR (10MW), OPAL (20MW) and MOATA (a very small 100 KW) which ran for 35 years. Most sites miss MOATA.

Certainly Australia does not design or build these reactors, however, they do have a very active research area and are certainly not without competence. SILEX and porous waste storage mediums are both relatively recent mechanism that ANSTO have been involved in that have been exported.

Does ANSTO have the ability to design a reactor...... No, but they don't need to if you scale up.

Does Australia have the technical know how to produce Unranium metals ...... Yes but there is no appetite for this and miner prefer to ship the ore (and avoid the implications of processing it)

Could Australia produce fuel rods ...... Technically Yes, but you need to build the infrastructure but why bother when it can be done elsewhere. The same goes for reprocessing,

The big issue is there is no political will to persue a nuclear power generation capability. We cannot even agree where to store reprocessed waste from HIFAR and MOATA even though the sole purpose of these units was medical. Teh main issue here is ill informed hysteria but it certainly shows what the problem is.
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Old April 3rd, 2016   #54
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Even the big nuclear users ( in the West ) can't really figure out what to do with the hot waste. Almost all of it in Canada is stored at reactor sites despite years of research on storage techniques and potential long term storage sites. The same is true for other users. I imagine the USN has a storage site for waste and retired reactors. NIMBY is the main obstacle.
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Old April 3rd, 2016   #55
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Even the big nuclear users ( in the West ) can't really figure out what to do with the hot waste. Almost all of it in Canada is stored at reactor sites despite years of research on storage techniques and potential long term storage sites. The same is true for other users. I imagine the USN has a storage site for waste and retired reactors. NIMBY is the main obstacle.
The Australian waste is progressively preprocessed and what cannot be recycled is vitrified and encapsulated. Mind you the waste from HIFAR and MOATA is not a lot. Spent fuel rods are stored in cooling ponds prior to reprocessing. Some countries have an issue with reprocessing as they fear plutonium can be hived off. As a result the rods are all stored in cooling ponds.

Not an ideal solution IMHO.
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Old April 3rd, 2016   #56
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The Australian waste is progressively preprocessed and what cannot be recycled is vitrified and encapsulated. Mind you the waste from HIFAR and MOATA is not a lot. Spent fuel rods are stored in cooling ponds prior to reprocessing. Some countries have an issue with reprocessing as they fear plutonium can be hived off. As a result the rods are all stored in cooling ponds.

Not an ideal solution IMHO.
Storage pools are a big problem that will eventually get worse. Look at Fukishima.

Russians had a great solution.. Particularly for submarines, just chuck it in the ocean. Wouldn't even have to be deep, 20 metres is fine, doesn't even have to be far off the coast. Sometimes don't have to remove fuel rods.

BBC - Future - How do you dismantle a nuclear submarine?

Its all the secondary intermediate and low level radioactive stuff that is a huge headache as there's so much of it, and its usually very awkward.

Australia doesn't have a great plan, heaps of it was just being stored in drums at Lucas Heights and a few other random storage sites. There is a project to create a proper storage site so we don't just store every thing in the city with 5 million people. We struggle with the waste from our tiny reactors and experiments.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility |

Part of having nuclear subs would be a whole nuclear life cycle and waste storage and decommissioning and disposals as other countries are unlikely to foot the waste. Something tells me WA and SA probably wouldn't be fighting to get that particular job for their state.

For Australia diesels offer a pretty straight forward cycle. Same for Japan, Canada, even Brazil and Argentina (whos nuclear programs are questionable) . China's nuclear sub program has probably been more of a distraction than adding real capability. IMO its unlikely they will ever realise a large nuclear sub fleet.
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Old April 3rd, 2016   #57
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Australia needs to make 'grown-up decisions' about submarines: Andrew Shearer
Posted 56 minutes ago

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he won't guarantee that the details of Australia's politically sensitive submarine building contract will be released before the election. But a former security adviser to Tony Abbott says he has no doubt that US defence advisers would have been giving frank advice to their Australian counterparts to try to encourage them to partner with Japan to build the new submarines. Andrew Shearer from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC says strategic alliances are certainly a factor.


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Old April 4th, 2016   #58
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Australia needs to make 'grown-up decisions' about submarines: Andrew Shearer
Posted 56 minutes ago

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he won't guarantee that the details of Australia's politically sensitive submarine building contract will be released before the election. But a former security adviser to Tony Abbott says he has no doubt that US defence advisers would have been giving frank advice to their Australian counterparts to try to encourage them to partner with Japan to build the new submarines. Andrew Shearer from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC says strategic alliances are certainly a factor.


Rule No:1 in the tender evaluation matrix should be to penalise competitors for slagging off at their industrial opposition when their own houses are not in order
I read the article from Shearer from the CSIS in The Australian today and the article by Greg Sheridan. I also read the numerous comments following the articles. There seems to be a real cheersquad for nuclear propulsion subs (which isn't going to happen). They're so numerous and so vocal I get the impression that it's an organised group. Are you aware of such a group in Defence circles?
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Old April 4th, 2016   #59
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I read the article from Shearer from the CSIS in The Australian today and the article by Greg Sheridan. I also read the numerous comments following the articles. There seems to be a real cheersquad for nuclear propulsion subs (which isn't going to happen). They're so numerous and so vocal I get the impression that it's an organised group. Are you aware of such a group in Defence circles?
nope. I even know some ex nuke drivers and they don't carry "if only for nukes" flag....
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Old April 4th, 2016   #60
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Do we need to start making Diesel boats forever badges?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel...rever_insignia

Maybe have the mermaids without scales, more like the RAN dolphins.

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Rule No:1 in the tender evaluation matrix should be to penalise competitors for slagging off at their industrial opposition when their own houses are not in order
Might eliminate a whole bunch, who use it as SOP.
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