France starts deconstruction of Redoutable-class nuclear submarines

The French Government Defense procurement agency Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) has contracted submarine specialist DCNS to deconstruct its decommissioned Redoutable-class ballistic missile submarines.

Built between 1964 and 1982, the SSBNs were gradually replaced by the four Triomphant-class submarines that entered service between 1997 and 2010.

DCNS will perform the work on five of the six submarines as the lead ship in the class, Redoutable serves as a museum ship at the Cité de la Mer naval museum in France.

SSBN Le Redoutable has been open to the open to the public since May 2002.

Work on the first shell will begin in 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2027 due to the amount of preparation required to carry out the work safely, as the agency noted.

The are two separate processes in dealing with decommissioned submarines. The first, dismantling, referrs to the operations linked to nuclear safety, and the deconstruction deals with the hull after removal of the nuclear reactor.

All of the Redoutable submarine have undergone the dismantling process where they have had their nuclear reactors removed in a technically challenging process. These dismantling operations take place on the DGA’s facilities in Cherbourg.

DCNS will be the main contractor with subcontractors taking care of pollution, waste management and asbestos removal.