Type 09V/09VI (095/096) Nuclear Submarine Thread


caudaceus

Junior Member
Registered Member
Quick question guys. Just found out from AUKUS things that nuclear subs can be HEU or LEU. Which one is used by PLA?
 

AndrewS

Colonel
Registered Member
What does that mean regarding the type 095/096 submarine projects? They needed new construction facilities in order to build them?

The 1st new construction hall is huge and can fit 12 SSNs or 3 SSBNs at one time. It just started operation.

Then they decided they needed a 2nd huge construction hall, which can fit 8 SSNs or 2 SSBNs at one time.

This is just for submarines, so you have to draw your own conclusions on what this means.

Assuming they have a competitive submarine design, I think they're aiming to ramp up to at least 3 SSNs per year.
Such a production rate should be sustainable for the next 20+ years
 

Tirdent

Junior Member
Registered Member
I don't know if HEU is the reason but UK and US sub reactors now last the life of the boat while French ones need to be refueled every 10 years or so.

Yup, as has been mentioned HEU cores can, by some clever design, achieve life times matching the expected operational life of the vessel, obviating the need to refuel. However, this requires some advanced solutions, so life-of-the-ship cores are a fairly recent thing - earlier US/UK HEU reactors still required refueling.

The advantage of LEU is two-fold: firstly, the lower enrichment significantly reduces the cost of producing the fuel, secondly, it presents less of a weapons proliferation risk. This latter factor used to be rather academic because the only nations actually operating nuclear submarines were already nuclear weapons states anyway, for example when India leased subs from the USSR/Russia. It could now become a real concern with the AUKUS deal though.

OT: Funnily enough just switching to the full-spec, nuclear Suffren class submarine with its K15 LEU reactor would have avoided that problem, and the diplomatic row with France that is currently ensuing. Of course, it seems that Australia saw the French as the problem, and that obviously could not have been fixed this way... But frankly, it likely means the Aussies will end up getting HEU reactors - 8 SSNs is incredibly ambitious for Australia's means to begin with. Adding development of a bespoke LEU propulsion system or even shoe-horning the French K-15 into a US or UK hull (attractive though the idea is, for mollifying France), is just implausibly extravagant.
 
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