Australia has announced plans to allocate billions of dollars to the UK for the construction of nuclear reactors, intended to power the submarines under the AUKUS alliance.


Australia will allocate $4.7 billion to support the UK’s nuclear reactor production, essential for the delivery of the AUKUS submarine fleet, with Australian taxpayers footing the bill.

Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong, alongside UK counterparts Grant Shapps and David Cameron, unveiled crucial steps toward advancing the trilateral partnership.

They confirmed that domestic shipbuilder ASC would collaborate with BAE Systems under a joint venture to construct submarines at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide.

Marles emphasized the significance of the AUKUS update amidst global conflicts and praised Australia’s commitment to providing drones to Ukraine.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed mutual support for Ukraine and highlighted joint efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza and bolster security in the Indo-Pacific.

The UK Defence Secretary underscored that AUKUS aims to safeguard freedom of navigation globally and maintain a rules-based international order.

The agreement stipulates that Australia will allocate $4.7 billion over ten years to provide reactors for the SSN-AUKUS submarines, with some funds supporting UK-based Rolls Royce for design costs. This investment aims to enhance Rolls Royce’s production capabilities to meet Australia’s requirements.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce criticized the decision to send funds overseas instead of developing Australia’s own nuclear industry.

Marles defended the decision, stating that reactors would be built by Rolls Royce in the UK and then transported to Australia for submarine assembly.

Australia plans to invest approximately $30 billion in its shipbuilding industry to construct the nuclear-powered submarines.

The SSN-AUKUS fleet’s design will be based on the UK’s Astute-class submarines and incorporate the US combat system. Construction is set to commence in Adelaide from 2040.

BAE Systems, alongside ASC, will play a key role in delivering the submarine program, with CEO Charles Woodburn expressing pride in the company’s involvement.

ASC and BAE will establish a collaborative arrangement to expedite work while formalizing a joint venture.

Additionally, Australia will implement a “train the trainer” initiative to enhance vocational education and training in collaboration with the US.

The total cost of the AUKUS submarine program, covering construction, maintenance, and service, is projected to reach up to $368 billion by 2055.


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