Former PM questions whether Australia can maintain US subs

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The former Australian prime minister who signed the now-cancelled French submarine deal has questioned whether Australia could safely maintain a fleet powered by U.S. nuclear technology. Malcolm Turnbull made the deal in 2016 with the French to build 12 conventional submarines. His successor canceled the deal this month in favor of a fleet of at least eight subs powered by U.S. nuclear technology. Turnbull told the National Press Club that Australia’s Defense Department had advised him an Australian nuclear-powered fleet was not an option without local nuclear facilities. Atomic energy is a fraught issue in Australia, which bans nuclear power generation and refuses to export uranium to countries that would put it to military uses.

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