Weld Australia has confirmed that Australia’s welders are more than capable of building the new fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines agreed to in the $368 billion AUKUS deal this week. However, the biggest risk facing the nuclear-powered AUKUS submarine build is whether enough skilled welders can be recruited and trained. As such, Weld Australia is calling for a Shipbuilding Welding Academy to be established and funded by the Federal Government.
According to Geoff Crittenden, CEO, Weld Australia, “There has been some discussion in the media over whether the quality of Australian welders is sufficient to build the proposed AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines. Australia’s qualified welders are more than capability of building the new fleet. Some pundits have stated that the quality of welding required for a nuclear submarine is of a much higher standard than that required for a diesel electric conventional submarine. However, all welding must be of the highest quality if the submarine is to meet the necessary survivability objectives—whether the submarine is nuclear or diesel powered is irrelevant. Whilst some welding on nuclear boats is undertaken in line with different International and Australian Standards, and utilises different materials, the quality of the weld must be the same: that is to zero defects,” Crittenden said.
“I am pleased to report that the quality of welding employed on the Collins Class submarines is of the highest possible standard. It is—without question—world class. During the early days of the Naval Group project, senior French engineers visited the ASC facility to witness hull welding on the Collins Class submarines. When these engineers asked what the defect rate was for the hull welds, they were informed by the Welding Supervisor that the defect rate was zero. The French engineers were initially sceptical—until they reviewed the Non-Destructive Testing reports. The engineers confirmed that they simply could not replicate this quality of welding in France,” said Crittenden.
The biggest risk facing Australia’s nuclear-powered AUKUS submarine build is not welder capability, but the recruitment and training of enough skilled welders.
“Australia is already facing a severe shortage of skilled welders. Even before the AUKUS deal was signed, Australia was looking at a shortage of 70,000 welders by 2030. So, unless we take serious precautions now, there simply won’t be enough skilled people to undertake the welding required,” said Crittenden. “We need a Shipbuilding Welding Academy to be established and funded by the Federal Government. An academy of this nature will help ensure that the defence prime contractors have access to the skilled, qualified welding professionals required to successfully deliver the nuclear-powered submarines. It will ensure that Australia has sufficient tradesmen of the right calibre ready to commence welding of the AUKUS submarines when the time comes.”
“couldnt replicate the welds in france..”-
France has been building nuclear subs for 40 years, and has the worlds biggest nuclear reactor park in the 50 operational, and built a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, and builds fighter jets, the rafale a gen 4, the engines,m88, thermonuclear weapons, and space rockets, (ariane) and its engines, and satellites
This is pure biased rubbish reporting.
France might produce all of the above but can they do it with zero percentage defects or do they need to go back and fix welds.
I wasn’t impress by France Submarines been cancal, once truth came out, that secret deal was carried out by Defence Minister to have American Submarines instead of France Submarines and then UK submarines was pick to replace France Submarines. Yet then Australia paying out $50 billion dollars for 12 france submarines, now Australian nation is been told this is now $360 billion dollars deal for 8 to 10 nuclaer submarines from United Kingdom and believe me, this is mentally insane figure that Australian Government come up with. Yet looks like nuclear submarines deal on shakie ground, as cost is submarines, are suspiciously to extreme in cost for OZ.
The Uk Submarine cost in Britian is 2015 was $1.650 billion dollas and today its around $2 billion dollars submarine and cost just build one UK Submarine in OZ of Australia would be around $ 3 to 3.5 billion dollars each to build them in SA at present, so can see why us Aussies are suspicious of cost being around $360 billion dollar mark and going take ten years build one UK submarine in South Australia, when in UK there submarines are built within 4 years and come in three submarines in one go, so real cost of UK nuclear submarine should be around $35 billion for Ten submarines in Australia or Twenty Submarines for $70 billion dollars only of $3.5 billion dollars sub.
“This was always likely to be a big problem, and so it has proved,” said a source. “The PWR2 was meant for a much bigger boat, and Astute had to be designed around it. That may have cut costs, but it has caused problems. The power from the reactor does not translate into forward movement.”
Large added: “So much promise was held out for the Astute class of nuclear powered submarine but these faults occurring during its commissioning into active/service, particularly in the propulsion system and its under-performance, suggest that the whole has been cobbled together from some ill-fitting parts – the real concern here is that these or similar mismatches will compromise nuclear safety at risk to crews and the public generally.”
The Astute program had to be put back on track by about 200 U.S. engineers from Electric Boat.
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Glad we can help.