The consultancy firm has been tapped to support the roll-out of nuclear-powered submarines promised under the AUKUS agreement.
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Defence SA has commissioned KBR subsidiary Frazer-Nash Consultancy to investigate state government legislation and safety requirements for nuclear technology.
The work will be overseen by the South Australian Submarine Taskforce — established this year to support the Department of Defence’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce and chaired by Defence SA.
This is expected to involve consultation with state government agencies, local industry and local government representatives to create an “optimal pathway” for construction of the next-generation vessels at Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide.
Areas of focus are tipped to include safety, environmental protection, facilities and infrastructure, industrial base capacity and workforce.
Frazer-Nash has been specifically tasked with investigating state government legislation and safety requirements for nuclear technology, aimed at maximising opportunities for delivery of the nuclear-powered submarine program.
Senior consultant Dr Ben Heard noted the importance of the work in the initial phase of the submarine program.
“We’ll be looking for any challenges or barriers, assessing the risks and identifying a spectrum of scenarios and impacts, given what we know of the processes and technologies,” he said.
“The timeframe of the submarine program is challenging, so this is important work to ensure the build is on the right track from the start and that the South Australian Submarine Taskforce has considered all the potential impacts.”
The United Kingdom’s Astute Class vessel and the US’ Virginia Class platform are currently under consideration by the national taskforce to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class fleet.
Recommendations from the 18-month review are due to be submitted in March 2023.
[Related: ASC opens submarine innovation hub]