Naval Warfare

Suffren​ submarine nuclear reactor started up

31st December 2019 - 09:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The nuclear reactor of the French Navy’s Suffren submarine has been started for the first time, clearing the way for acceptance testing to begin in 2020.

Divergence of the reactor was performed by the TechnicAtome and Naval Group teams on the Cherbourg site in accordance with authorisations issued by the French Nuclear Safety Authority and the French Defence Procurement Agency.

Divergence is conducted from the Propulsion Control Station of the Suffren. The operation consists of triggering a controlled nuclear reaction in the core for the first time. Lasting only a short time, this operation marks the beginning of the constant monitoring of the nuclear reactor by the operating teams. This operation will be continuous until the decommissioning of the submarine, planned for the 2050 decade.

Designed under the responsibility of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Agency, the nuclear reactor was built under a prime contract by TechnicAtome, reactor designer, with Naval Group being responsible for the production of the pressure equipment and the integration of the reactor on-board the Barracuda submarines.

Hervé Guillou, chairman and CEO, Naval Group: ‘The start-up of the nuclear reactor on-board the Suffren submarine is a new demonstration of the know-how of the French nuclear industrial sector, with TechnicAtome and Naval Group in the forefront. This success gives the country an unequalled defence tool with a high degree of industrial autonomy benefitting the sovereignty of France.’

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