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Babcock, Bechtel Australia and HII partner to support nuclear-powered submarine program

Babcock Australasia, Bechtel Australia and HII have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the delivery of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program from infrastructure development to decommissioning.

Babcock Australasia, Bechtel Australia and HII have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the delivery of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine program from infrastructure development to decommissioning.

Under the agreement, the companies have committed to collaborate on finding opportunities to support AUKUS Pillar I, addressing challenges such as skilled workforce development, nuclear infrastructure design and build, submarine defuelling and decommissioning, and nuclear waste and material management.

Babcock Australasia chief executive officer Andrew Cridland explained that the partners will draw from extensive global expertise to support the delivery of the program.

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“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,” he explained.

“Babcock is a world leader in submarine capability, bringing our extensive global experience in sustainment, nuclear safety and stewardship to this AUKUS-first collaboration.

“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.”

Cridland recently joined Defence Connect editor Liam Garman on the Defence Connect Spotlight podcast, unpacking Babcock Australasia’s ongoing growth in the Indo-Pacific.

The announcement follows an earlier agreement between Babcock International Group and HII to develop models for achieving a sovereign nuclear-powered submarine capability, which built on an existing relationship between the two companies in the United States and the United Kingdom on nuclear decommissioning, disposal, and national security opportunities.

In November, the two companies launched the AUKUS Workforce Alliance (AWA) in Australia alongside the University of Adelaide, Curtin University and the University of NSW.

The AUKUS Workforce Alliance was formed as a dedicated partnership committed to preparing a skilled workforce in support of all steps of Australia’s optimal pathway to sovereign nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS Pillar 1.

The AWA seeks to address the current and future workforce needs that are required to accelerate sovereign capability, capacity, and resilience for Australia’s defence sector. As part of this, AWA will work together in a trilateral alliance, combining proven and trusted knowledge, skills and unrivalled experience from across Australia, the UK, and the US.

Currently, Babcock sustains the entire UK Royal Navy’s submarine fleet and also owns and operates the UK’s only licensed facility for the refitting, refuelling, and defuelling of nuclear submarines.

As the US’ largest shipbuilding company, HII has delivered more than 60 nuclear submarines for the US Navy in the last 40 years.

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