Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: Reuters
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  • According to a report, Australia’s new fleet of nuclear powered submarines could cost up to $171 billion
  • A new study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) estimated the cost will be $70 billion at the “absolute minimum”
  • ASPI said it could be as high as $171 billion and it could be 20 years until a submarine would be seaworthy
  • It could take up to 18 months before the taskforce chooses US or British designed submarines
  • The report also agreed that the new submarines would give Australia a regional strategic advantage

Australia’s new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines could cost up to $171 billion, according to a think tank report.

Earlier this year, Australia entered into an agreement with Britain and the United States to give the country access to highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology. The deal is expected to cost anywhere north of $70 billion.

This new alliance scrapped the controversial $90 billion program to build up to 12 French-designed submarines, which caused tensions between the two countries.

A new study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has estimated the cost will be $70 billion at the “absolute minimum” but said it is “highly likely it will cost substantially more once cost drivers are more clearly understood”.

ASPI said it could be as high as $171 billion and it could be 20 years until a submarine would be seaworthy.

The deal will also see nuclear safeguards developed at Australian ports and naval facilitates, according to the report.

“This new enterprise will be a massive undertaking and probably the largest and most complex endeavour Australia has embarked upon,” ASPI said.

“The challenges, costs and risks will be enormous. It’s likely to be at least two decades and tens of billions of dollars in sunk costs before Australia has a useful nuclear-powered military capability.”

The Federal Government has assigned a taskforce to weigh up the best options for nuclear submarines. It could take up to 18 months before the taskforce chooses US or British designed submarines.

The report also agreed that the new submarines would give Australia a regional strategic advantage.

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