Submarines won’t build themselves

Labor’s Kim Carr wants a Senate committee inquiry to ask a bunch of questions about nuclear submarines. Including who’s going to maintain (let alone build) them

“We will need to develop the skills to repair the subs should they break down. There is yet to be developed a system that doesn’t require repair and we have to understand that,” he told Fran Kelly on RN yesterday.

Senator Carr added Australia is short of the nuclear physicists we need for the ANSTO reactor and Synchrotron and we will need way more to run submarines.

Journalist Cameron Stewart (who has written about submarines for years) agrees. “Australia will need to start now to plan for a new generation of nuclear trained specialists to help build, maintain and ultimately crew the new boats. Australia has almost no ­experts in this area now. Open up more university courses. Pay them heaps. But get them trained up quickly,” he writes in The Australian.

Defence Industry minister Chris Pyne grasped years back, there will be a shipbuilding trades skill-shortage and he started work towards a naval construction college (CMM November 23 2017) – which is now a referral service rather than a training provider.

And so, it will likely be up to universities to educate the engineers and physicists the submarine programme will need.  The Group of Eight gets this – last week it was quick to list its members’ credentials.


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