France's Third Barracuda Submarine Begins Nuclear Reactor Startup

SNA Tourville submarine is scheduled for sea trials in summer 2024
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 09:42 AM, April 25, 2024
  • 878
France's Third Barracuda Submarine Begins Nuclear Reactor Startup
France's Third Barracuda Submarine Begins Nuclear Reactor Startup @France MoD

The nuclear boiler room of the SNA Tourville, the third submarine in France's Barracuda series, initiated its nuclear propulsion reactor in Cherbourg on April 24, as announced by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).

The nuclear boiler room for these submarines was developed under the project management of the CEA (Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission).

The startup of the nuclear boiler room, termed "divergence," was executed by teams from Naval Group and TechnicAtome, with support from the submarine's weapons crew. This step involved initiating a controlled nuclear reaction within the reactor core for the first time. Authorization for this phase was granted by the Delegate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection for Defense Activities and Facilities (DSND), ensuring strict adherence to safety protocols.

France's Third Barracuda Submarine Begins Nuclear Reactor Startup
Specifications of Barracuda submarines @Naval Group

Following this startup, the SNA Tourville is scheduled for sea trials in summer 2024, leading towards its imminent delivery.

Commissioned in 2011, the SNA Tourville transitioned from construction to launch preparations in July 2023. After comprehensive onboard equipment tests, the submarine underwent further testing in the Cachin basin.

The Barracuda program, comprising six submarines ordered by the DGA, aims to modernize France's naval fleet by replacing aging Rubis-class submarines deployed since the 1980s. The program's initial submarines, Suffren and Duguay-Trouin, entered active service in June 2022 and April 2024, respectively. The remaining vessels (Grasse, Rubis, and Casabianca) are currently under construction and are expected to be delivered by 2030, solidifying France's position at the forefront of advanced submarine technology.

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