Grant Shapps and Richard Marles visit key nuclear site

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  • Australian and British representatives visit the Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor production site.
  • Australian industry experts are working with UK defense companies to promote attack submarine collaboration.
  • Important step in the AUKUS program that is critical to maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles today visited the Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor manufacturing site in Derby to meet the first group of Australian nationals to train within the British industry to understand how the next generation of conventional armed nuclear-powered submarines are being built. Rolls-Royce will become the supplier of all nuclear power plants for the British and Australian submarines.

Ministers saw the first parts of a nuclear propulsion plant being manufactured for the UK’s SSN-AUKUS programme, representing one of the first phases of building submarines that will help protect our collective and economic security.

This follows an injection of £4 billion in UK funding to British companies, including Rolls-Royce, for the development of the UK’s SSN-AUKUS submarines announced earlier this year.

The work will support Rolls-Royce in doubling the size of the Derby site and creating thousands of jobs in Britain over the coming years, supporting Britain’s current and future submarine programmes.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said:

A project like this can only succeed thanks to the great work being done across the UK industry.

The work at Rolls-Royce in Derby is a great example of what we can achieve when we work together and collaborate with our allies. It is inspiring to see our personnel on the ground working side by side with the Australians to deliver the most advanced submarines for our navies.

The partnership will not only help maintain stability in the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions, but also showcase the world-class trademark that British industry embodies.

As part of the partnership programme, 13 Australian nationals will commence training and familiarization activities in the UK over the next seven weeks. The cohort will open the door for a generation of Australians to work with British industry and help deliver the next generation of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

The Australian staff will visit some of the UK’s leading experts in submarine construction and maintenance, from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock. They will have the opportunity to observe how Britain develops and maintains some of the most advanced submarine technology in the world to build their expertise and accelerate the training required to operate a nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

Significant new opportunities will emerge for small, medium and large enterprises across all AUKUS partners. The collaboration will result in benefits to industrial capacity in all three countries, with greater resilience of trilateral supply chains.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said:

Australia is working closely with Britain and the US to progressively develop the skills, knowledge and expertise to build, operate and maintain conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

These Australian industry placements provide us with an invaluable opportunity to learn from our experienced partners in the UK, and to better understand the roles and scope of work.

The AUKUS submarines will be the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy and will help continue global stability for decades to come.

The collaboration with AUKUS will result in benefits to industrial capacity in all three countries, with greater resilience of trilateral supply chains. It will promote deeper integration of security and defense-related science.

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