The nuclear submarine lobby and it’s chairman’s conflict of interest

Nuclear submarine option pushed by industry Financial Review  by John Kerin, 24 Mar 15,  Australia’s peak defence industry group has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reconsider buying or leasing a nuclear submarine fleet to replace the ageing Collins class, saying the absence of a supporting domestic nuclear power industry no longer presents a hurdle.

Australian Industry Group Defence Council chairman Chris Jenkins, who is also the Australian chief of French industry giant Thales, said today’s submarine nuclear power plants were so efficient and required so little maintenance that an onshore nuclear power industry was hardly a requirement.

conflict-of-interest

He said nuclear submarine powerplant technology was constantly improving and you would need a trained workforce but not necessarily a power industry to support it.

The defence council is the peak body representing the’s $8 billion 24,000 strong defence sector. “That’s been said [you need a nuclear power industry] but I think nuclear energy these days is much more modularised than people think….like anything else [the submarine] powerplant is manageable,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The idea of a nuclear industry as a fundamental necessity, I am not convinced, but I did think it was quite a good thing that there was a call for a really deep review from South Australia in to nuclear energy,” Mr Jenkins said.

Mr Jenkins was referring to a royal commission called by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill into the development of nuclear power.

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews will deliver the opening address at a major two-day summit on Australia’s Future Submarine, where experts are expected to fiercely debate the competitive evaluation process given ongoing concerns over the future of Adelaide based ASC and jobs in Adelaide……..

the French firm DCNS has offered a diesel powered version of its 5000 tonne Barracuda submarine.The nuclear version of the Barracuda will be in service with the French Navy from 2017.

 Prime Minister Tony Abbott commissioned advice from his own department last year on nuclear submarine options including the 8000 tonne US Virginia class but the government continues to rule out the option.

But its understood DCNS could offer the nuclear version of the Barracuda from around 2030 if Canberra wished to go down that route……..

Mr Jenkins said. “Given the concern over jobs, South Australia should be as keen to know the answer as anyone because itwould undoubtedly be the centre of Australia’s nuclear industry,” he said. http://www.afr.com/news/politics/nuclear-submarine-option-pushed-by-industry-20150324-1m5cpx

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