Royal Australian Navy Submarines to go Nuclear

No surprise. It's killed a few people too. Mainly the ladies who used to paint the numbers.
 
You can joke....... but when I joined my first boat, I was told to have my watch checked. Being old and bold, I thought it was a fairly poor attempt at at a bite (wah to you chaps!).

Nope, turns out if you were wearing an older watch it could set off one of the radiation detectors around the boat!
Tritium in luminous compound and the previous radium certainly would !
Used to be an old fav with the Geiger counter . DS would produce an old G10 watch jobby and wave the geiger counter over it and it cackled into life. No personal dosimeters near watches etc etc.
 

Yokel

LE
The radium water guy....ran the IBM Electronics Division through WW2. What? What the ****?

He had a glowing record.

Yes I know, just getting my coat. Did the general public, or anyone else, understand the dangers of ionising radiation until Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Many of the scientists working on the Manhattan project used to gauge radiation levels by the burning sensation in their hands.
 
He had a glowing record.

Yes I know, just getting my coat. Did the general public, or anyone else, understand the dangers of ionising radiation until Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Many of the scientists working on the Manhattan project used to gauge radiation levels by the burning sensation in their hands.
I believe it was the two incidents with the Demon Core during the Manhatten project that gave the scientists a fairly good idea and a lot of information as to what sort of damage ionising radiation causes. IIRC correctly, the two incidents exposed Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin to more radiation than any human had every been exposed to up until that point in history.

 
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He had a glowing record.

Yes I know, just getting my coat. Did the general public, or anyone else, understand the dangers of ionising radiation until Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Many of the scientists working on the Manhattan project used to gauge radiation levels by the burning sensation in their hands.
After the bomb tests in Nevada, the heat of the fireball used to turn the desert sand into small particles of greenish glass. Some parts had reddish tints which was allegedly from teh copper wiring. It was called Trinitite and used to make jewellery until people started having some health issues

The story of trinitite
 

Yokel

LE
Another sub procurement issue, this time Swedish, different issues though. But of interest


I wonder if this will give the likes of Lewis Page or Max Hastings, or the critics of the RN/MOD/BAE Systems something to think about in their ceaseless criticism. Submarine design is hard, systems integration is hard, in fact everything is hard unless you do it constantly to keep the full range of skills going and up to date - from the design offices to the welders' shop.

I thought that Sweden had pioneered their own Air Independent Propulsion system? Does the author advocate trying to acquire foreign built or designed boats and then fit Swedish AIP technology inside?
 
I wonder if this will give the likes of Lewis Page or Max Hastings, or the critics of the RN/MOD/BAE Systems something to think about in their ceaseless criticism. Submarine design is hard, systems integration is hard, in fact everything is hard unless you do it constantly to keep the full range of skills going and up to date - from the design offices to the welders' shop.

I thought that Sweden had pioneered their own Air Independent Propulsion system? Does the author advocate trying to acquire foreign built or designed boats and then fit Swedish AIP technology inside?
From the sounds of things elsewhere, submarine AIP systems are at the start of a big change with really big lithium batteries being set to replace Stirling cycle systems.
 
How do they get around the limited lifespan of the batteries?
If you're talking about the number of charge cycles, there's a few different aspects to that. For one thing, they are using custom built batteries with fewer restrictions on weight and size.

Another is that they aren't the same lithium battery chemistry that are used in things like phones or computers. The Germans intend to use lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) rather than lithium-polymer (LiPo) such as are used in consumer electronics. LFP batteries apparently have a longer life than lead-acid. Typical commercial LFP batteries are good for 5000 charge-discharge cycles. A typical submarine isn't likely to get through that many cycles in a lifetime of operation.

Keep in mind that they are talking about much longer periods of operating on a single charge than has been the case with lead-acid. If they just do a one-to-one replacement of lead-acid batteries with LFP, then they can remain submerged for "days".

The Japanese have a new submarine they are testing which uses lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA). Again, these have longer lifespans and require less maintenance than lead-acid. By removing the AIP system they can pack even more batteries in. I haven't seen any definite figures for length of submerged operation, but it is supposedly almost equal to AIP (which are typically 2 weeks of submerged operation on patrol).

These lithium batteries can charge much faster than lead-acid as well, which means they can spend less time off charging somewhere and more time on patrol.

The main challenge with any of these battery systems is safety (e.g. short circuits and fires). However, with specialized design and good quality control the Japanese claim to have solved that issue.

These lithium battery submarines still don't have the extended high power output that nuclear submarines have, so if you need to be able to get an attack submarine from say Scotland to Argentina ASAP, nuclear will probably remain the better choice.

However, lithium batteries will nearly equal the endurance of Stirling-cycle AIP systems, while also offering higher peak output for bursts of high speed. They also don't have to deal with things like liquid oxygen and are overall simpler from an operation and maintenance perspective.


I am not by the way going to draw any conclusions about whether Australia should have chosen lithium battery submarines instead of nuclear. The technology is still in the early stages yet and we don't know when the inevitable kinks will be ironed out. Also, there is the issue of the submarines themselves. One of the issues that I read about with respect to the Australians using a Japanese design is the longer operating distances that Australia wanted meant the submarines would have to be larger to carry more fuel and for larger crew accommodations. So that meant another custom (modified) design instead of license building an existing one.


However, I do strongly suspect that Stirling cycle AIP systems will before too long be on their way out to be replaced by some sort of enlarged battery system which offers almost the same submerged capability with a simpler to operate power system and even quieter operation.
 
If you're talking about the number of charge cycles, there's a few different aspects to that. For one thing, they are using custom built batteries with fewer restrictions on weight and size.

Another is that they aren't the same lithium battery chemistry that are used in things like phones or computers. The Germans intend to use lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) rather than lithium-polymer (LiPo) such as are used in consumer electronics. LFP batteries apparently have a longer life than lead-acid. Typical commercial LFP batteries are good for 5000 charge-discharge cycles. A typical submarine isn't likely to get through that many cycles in a lifetime of operation.

Keep in mind that they are talking about much longer periods of operating on a single charge than has been the case with lead-acid. If they just do a one-to-one replacement of lead-acid batteries with LFP, then they can remain submerged for "days".

The Japanese have a new submarine they are testing which uses lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA). Again, these have longer lifespans and require less maintenance than lead-acid. By removing the AIP system they can pack even more batteries in. I haven't seen any definite figures for length of submerged operation, but it is supposedly almost equal to AIP (which are typically 2 weeks of submerged operation on patrol).

These lithium batteries can charge much faster than lead-acid as well, which means they can spend less time off charging somewhere and more time on patrol.

The main challenge with any of these battery systems is safety (e.g. short circuits and fires). However, with specialized design and good quality control the Japanese claim to have solved that issue.

These lithium battery submarines still don't have the extended high power output that nuclear submarines have, so if you need to be able to get an attack submarine from say Scotland to Argentina ASAP, nuclear will probably remain the better choice.

However, lithium batteries will nearly equal the endurance of Stirling-cycle AIP systems, while also offering higher peak output for bursts of high speed. They also don't have to deal with things like liquid oxygen and are overall simpler from an operation and maintenance perspective.


I am not by the way going to draw any conclusions about whether Australia should have chosen lithium battery submarines instead of nuclear. The technology is still in the early stages yet and we don't know when the inevitable kinks will be ironed out. Also, there is the issue of the submarines themselves. One of the issues that I read about with respect to the Australians using a Japanese design is the longer operating distances that Australia wanted meant the submarines would have to be larger to carry more fuel and for larger crew accommodations. So that meant another custom (modified) design instead of license building an existing one.


However, I do strongly suspect that Stirling cycle AIP systems will before too long be on their way out to be replaced by some sort of enlarged battery system which offers almost the same submerged capability with a simpler to operate power system and even quieter operation.

Thanks for that comprehensive answer, appreciate it

Perhaps I'm a little to cynical about battery technology, it will be an interesting one to watch
 
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