France’s Naval Group announced the switching on of the reactor of nuclear powered submarine, Suffren, in an event called "divergence."
“Divergence is conducted from the Propulsion Control Station (PCS) of the Suffren. The operation consists in triggering a controlled nuclear reaction in the core for the first time. Lasting only a short time, this operation marks the beginning of the constant monitoring of the nuclear reactor by the operating teams. This operation will be continuous until the decommissioning of the submarine, planned for the 2050 decade,” A Naval Group statement said earlier this week.
The Suffren, the first of class, was launched in August 2019 and will begin its sea trials in the first quarter of 2020 to arrive in Toulon before the summer.
The divergence of the Suffren’s nuclear reactor was performed on the Cherbourg site in accordance with the authorisations issued by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire – ASN) and the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA).
Designed under the responsibility of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Agency (CEA), the nuclear reactor was built under the prime contracting of TechnicAtome, reactor designer, Naval Group being responsible for the production of the pressure equipment and the integration of the reactor on-board the Barracuda submarines.
Launched in 1998, the Barracuda program renews its Ship Subsurface Nuclear (SSN) component composed of six Rubis type SSNs commissioned at the start of eighties. The associated development contract was notified in December 2006.
The delivery of the six submarines will span one decade beginning in 2020.