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Monday, January 24, 2022

Australia begins building expertise for nuclear-powered AUKUS deal

With the announcement of 300 scholarships over the next five years to develop Australia’s nuclear science and engineering workforce, the Defense Facilitating AUKUS Submarine Initiative is looking to build its skilled workforce.

Defense Minister Peter Dutton announced in a media release on Monday that the new scholarship will allow the federal government to create a workforce with the skills to develop advanced technologies to meet the nation’s national security needs. .

“The delivery of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines over the next few decades will create thousands of jobs across the country,” Dutton said. “We must ensure that our people have the right skills and qualifications to support and deliver this generation-to-generation effort that will strengthen our national security and defence.”

The Defense Nuclear Science and Engineering Scholarship will be awarded to applicants who have demonstrated strong academic results in the nuclear science and engineering STEM fields and are interested in a career in ADF.

(LR) Australian Defense Secretary Peter Dutton, Secretary of State Maris Payne, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pose for a group photo at the State Department on September 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The US announced a new alliance with Australia and Britain on September 15 to bolster military capabilities in the face of a growing China, with Canberra acquiring a nuclear submarine fleet and US cruise missiles. (Andrew Harnick/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The scholarship is open to citizens pursuing undergraduate studies in a degree program for up to four years, which may include Honors or Masters.

Successful applicants will receive $20,000 per year for up to four years of full-time study, a fellowship program with Defense, an placement during the scholarship, and mentorship with advice on career and study options. Students will be qualified to work in a number of organizations that contribute to the nuclear-powered submarine program.

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The federal government will increase the number of Australians taking vocational education and training courses, providing additional entry points for those interested in nuclear-related careers.

submarine usa
Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786) returns home from deployment to the 7th Fleet area of ​​responsibility on September 13, 2021 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (Mass Communications Specialist First Class Michael B. Zingaro/US Navy via AP)

“It deserves to grow Australia’s high-tech workforce and deliver this significant potential,” Dutton said.

Following the announcement of the scholarship, Australia signed the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement with the UK and US, the first step in accessing sensitive and classified naval nuclear propulsion information in Australia.

The deal is estimated to cost around AU$70 billion (US$50 billion), or $116 billion including inflation, according to calculations by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The estimate is expected to increase “significantly” once the cost driver becomes clear.

“They [cost drivers] Both the US and the UK are involved in our choice of large submarine design, construction strategy, and the comprehensive support systems and infrastructure needed to operate nuclear submarines, the report said. “To channel Donald Rumsfeld, there are things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know; both would raise speculation.”

Currently, Australia, Britain and the US are working together to maintain freedom and peace in the Indo-Pacific.

“We are going to stand up for what we believe in and stand with our allies, including the United States, to make sure that peace prevails in our region,” Dutton said.

Victoria Kelly-Clark

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