Babcock Australasia (Babcock), Bechtel Australia and HII have agreed to work together to establish and support Australia’s conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarine program, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
It is the first group of companies in Australia to announce they are collaborating in this way to identify opportunities to support the program from infrastructure build through to the end of life of the submarines.
“Together our companies recognize the importance and value of maintaining a nuclear stewardship culture in the submarine life cycle that emphasizes rigorous training, adherence to stringent safety standards, continuous learning, and a shared responsibility for the well-being of all stakeholders," said Michael Lempke, HII President Nuclear and Environmental Services Group.
"We are committed to demonstrating these principles daily, to safeguard our people and the environment and foster public trust.”
It builds on the recent announcement that Babcock and HII have combined forces in Australia to support nuclear-powered submarine capability under the AUKUS endeavour.
The three companies will work together to identify ways in which they can help to overcome challenges including skilled workforce development, nuclear infrastructure design and build, submarine defueling and decommissioning, and nuclear waste and material management.
“Skilled workforce development is one of the biggest challenges that the AUKUS enterprise must overcome, and it is great to see industry working together and in close concert with Australian universities and state and federal governments to find ways to help close the future skills gap," said Dr Richard Freer, Bechtel Australia Public Infrastructure Managing Director.
“Babcock, Bechtel Australia and HII collectively bring insights and experience across all aspects of nuclear submarine engineering and construction, and by working together through this MOU we can help develop optimised solutions based on more strategic thinking to the AUKUS resource and infrastructure challenges.”
Cavendish Nuclear, a subsidiary of Babcock, and Bechtel have an established track record of successfully working together at Sellafield, the UK’s oldest nuclear storage facility, and through its collaboration to support infrastructure upgrade work at Babcock’s Devonport site in Plymouth, UK.
“The Babcock, Bechtel Australia and HII collaboration offers unrivalled, global experience across defence, nuclear, workforce and infrastructure to support the delivery of Australia’s largest and most ambitious defence agenda," said Andrew Cridland, Babcock Australasia CEO.
“We believe this relationship is critical to ensure the nation has the capability, expertise and skilled workforce it needs to operate, manage and ultimately dispose of nuclear-powered submarines from sovereign bases.”