CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The former Australian prime minister who signed the now-cancelled French submarine deal questioned whether Australia could safely maintain a fleet powered by U.S. nuclear technology.
Malcolm Turnbull made the 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) deal in 2016 with French majority state-owned Naval Group in 2016 to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who replaced Turnbull in a power struggle within Australia’s conservative government in 2018, canceled the deal this month as part of an alliance with the United States and Britain that will deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.
Morrison explained that the “game changer” was that next-generation nuclear-powered submarines will use reactors that do not need refueling during the 35-year life of the boat.
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