HomeTop StoriesThe Australian state says the first AUKUS nuclear submarines could be built...

The Australian state says the first AUKUS nuclear submarines could be built abroad

SYDNEY (Reuters) – South Australia’s state government said on Friday that the first nuclear submarines could be built overseas under the AUKUS pact between the United States, Britain and Australia, but more than the eight in the original agreement could be.

The Australian federal government has indicated it would build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia’s capital Adelaide, but state premier Peter Malinauskas said he was unclear on the number of orders.

“I hope we will produce more than eight nuclear submarines here in South Australia,” Malinauskas told ABC Radio. “There is no example anywhere in the world of a nuclear submarine production line that starts and then stops…so once you start producing nuclear submarines, you keep producing nuclear submarines.”

Foreign Secretary Penny Wong said she believed AUKUS would be “hugely beneficial” to her home state of South Australia as the pact was expected to create local jobs.

Reuters, citing four US officials, reported on Wednesday that Australia was expected to buy up to five US Virginia-class nuclear submarines as part of AUKUS in the 2030s.

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Adelaide was chosen as the base in 2016 when France won a A$50 billion ($33 billion) deal to build 12 submarines for Australia before Canberra traded that for AUKUS, sparking fury in Paris.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, on an official trip to India, will meet US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday in San Diego, the site of major US Navy operations, to map out a way forward on AUKUS .

AUKUS will enable Australia to receive the technology needed to deploy nuclear-powered submarines amid China’s military buildup in the Indo-Pacific region. China has “firm objection” to AUKUS, the foreign ministry said this month.

($1 = 1.5228 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; editing by Gerry Doyle)

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