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SUBMARINE :::::::::::::::::::::::::
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by
a nuclear reactor. The performance advantages of
nuclear submarines over "conventional" (typically dieselelectric) submarines are considerable: nuclear
propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees
the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is
necessary for conventional submarines; the large
amount of power generated by a nuclear reactor allows
nuclear submarines to operate at high speed for long
periods of time; and the long interval between refuellings
grants a range limited only by consumables such as
food. Current generations of nuclear submarines never
need to be refueled throughout their 25-year
lifespans. Conversely, the limited power stored in
electric batteries means that even the most advanced
conventional submarine can only remain submerged for
a few days at slow speed, and only a few hours at top
speed; recent advances in air-independent
propulsion have somewhat eroded this disadvantage.
The high cost of nuclear technology means that
relatively few states have fielded nuclear submarines.
Some of the most serious nuclear and radiation
accidents ever to occur have involved Soviet nuclear
submarine mishaps.

The idea for a nuclear-powered submarine was first
proposed by the Naval Research Laboratory's Ross
Gunn in 1939.
The United States launched the USS Nautilus, the first
nuclear submarine, in 1954 Nautilus could remain
underwater for up to four months without resurfacing.
Construction of the Nautilus was made possible by the
successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant by
a group of scientists and engineers at the Naval
Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission. In
July 1951 the U.S. Congress authorized construction of
the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, under the
leadership of Captain Hyman G. Rickover, USN.
The Westinghouse Corporation was assigned to build its
reactor. After the submarine was completed, Mamie
Eisenhower broke the traditional bottle of champagne
on Nautilus' bow. On 17 January 1955, it began its sea
trials after leaving its dock in Groton, Connecticut. The
submarine was 320 feet (98 m) long, and cost about $55
The Soviet Union soon followed the United States in
developing nuclear-powered submarines in the 1950s.
Stimulated by the U.S. development of the Nautilus,
Soviet work on nuclear propulsion reactors began in the
early 1950s at the Institute of Physics and Power
Engineering, in Obninsk, under Anatoliy P. Alexandrov,
later to become head of the Kurchatov Institute. In 1956,

the first Soviet propulsion reactor designed by his team

began operational testing. Meanwhile, a design team
under Vladimir N. Peregudov worked on the vessel that
would house the reactor.
After overcoming many obstacles, including steam
generation problems, radiation leaks, and other
difficulties, the first nuclear submarine based on these
combined efforts entered service in the Soviet Navy in

The VMF Typhoon class submarine, is nuclear-powered

and the world's largest-displacement submarine.[8]
At the height of the Cold War, approximately five to ten
nuclear submarines were being commissioned from
each of the four Soviet submarine yards
(Sevmash in Severodvinsk, Admiralteyskiye Verfi in
St. Petersburg, Krasnoye Sormovo in Nizhny Novgorod,
andAmurskiy Zavod in Komsomolsk-on-Amur). From the
late 1950s through the end of 1997, the Soviet Union,
and later Russia, built a total of 245 nuclear submarines,
more than all other nations combined.
Today, six countries deploy some form of nuclearpowered strategic submarines: the United States,
Russia, France, the United Kingdom, People's Republic
of China, and India. Several other countries, including
Argentina and Brazil, have ongoing projects in different
phases to build nuclear-powered submarines.

In the United Kingdom, all former and current nuclear

submarines of the British Royal Navy (with the exception
three: HMS Conqueror,HMS Renown and HMS Reveng
e) have been constructed in Barrow-in-Furness (at BAE
Systems Submarine Solutions or its predecessorVSEL)
where construction of nuclear submarines
continues. Conqueror is the only nuclear-powered
submarine ever to have engaged an enemy ship with
torpedoes, sinking the cruiser ARA General
Belgrano with two Mark 8 torpedoes during the
1982 Falklands War.
The main difference between conventional submarines
and nuclear submarines is the power generation system.
Nuclear submarines employ nuclear reactors for this
task. They either generate electricity that powers electric
motors connected to the propeller shaft or rely on the
reactor heat to produce steam that drives steam
turbines (cf. nuclear marine propulsion). Reactors used
in submarines typically use highly enriched fuel (often
greater than 20%) to enable them to deliver a large
amount of power from a smaller reactor and operate
longer between refuelings which are difficult due to the
reactor's position within the submarine's pressure hull.
The nuclear reactor also supplies power to the
submarine's other subsystems, such as for maintenance
of air quality, fresh water production by distilling salt
water from the ocean, temperature regulation, etc. All
naval nuclear reactors currently in use are operated with

diesel generators as a backup power system. These

engines are able to provide emergency electrical power
for reactor decay heat removal, as well as enough
electric power to supply an emergency propulsion
mechanism. Submarines may carry nuclear fuel for up to
30 years of operation. The only resource that limits the
time underwater is the food supply for the crew and
maintenance of the vessel.
The stealth technology weakness of nuclear submarines
is the need to cool the reactor even when the submarine
is not moving; about 70% of the reactor output heat is
dissipated into the sea water. This leaves a "thermal
wake", a plume of warm water of lower density which
ascends to the sea surface and creates a "thermal scar"
that is observable by thermal imaging systems,
e.g., FLIR. Another problem is that the reactor is always
running, creating steam noise, which can be heard on
SONAR, and the reactor pump (used to circulate reactor
coolant), also creates noise, as opposed to a
conventional submarine, which can move about on
incredibly silent electric motors.
United States Navy

SCB-64: USS Nautilus (SSN-571)

SCB-64A: USS Seawolf (SSN-575)

SCB-121: Skate class attack submarines

SCB-132: USS Triton (SSRN-586)

SCB-137A: USS Halibut (SSGN-587)

SCB-154: Skipjack class attack submarines

SCB-178: USS Tullibee (SSN-597)

SCB-180A: George Washington class ballistic missile submarines

SCB-180: Ethan Allen class ballistic missile submarines

SCB-188: Permit class attack submarines

SCB-188A: Sturgeon class attack submarines

SCB-216: Lafayette class ballistic missile submarines

SCB-216: James Madison class ballistic missile submarines

SCB-216: Benjamin Franklin class ballistic missile submarines


SCB-245: USS Narwhal (SSN-671)

SCB-302: USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)


SCB-303: Los Angeles class attack submarines

SCB-304: Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines

Seawolf class attack submarines

Virginia class attack submarines

Under development

Ohio replacement SSBN(X) (In development)

Soviet /

Russian Navy


Project 627 (November) attack submarines

Project 645 test attack submarine K-27

Project 658 (Hotel) ballistic missile submarines

Project 659/675 (Echo) cruise missile submarines

Project 661 (Papa) attack submarines

Project 667 (Yankee) ballistic missile submarines

Project 667B, Murena (Delta I) ballistic missile submarines

Project 667BD, Murena-M (Delta II) ballistic missile submarines

Project 670 (Charlie) cruise missile submarines

Project 671 (Victor) attack submarines

Project 678 (X-Ray) research submersible

Project 685 (Mike) attack submarine K-278 Komsomolets

Project 705 (Alfa) attack submarines

Operational submarines

Project 941 (Typhoon) ballistic missile submarines

Project 945 (Sierra) attack submarines

Project 949 (Oscar) cruise missile submarines

Project 667BDR, Kalmar (Delta III) ballistic missile submarines

Project 667BDRM, Delfin (Delta IV) ballistic missile submarines

Project 1910 (Uniform) special purpose submarines

Project 971 (Akula) attack submarines

Project 671RTM Shchuka (Victor III) attack submarines

Project 935 (Borei) ballistic missile submarines(Russian submarine Yury Dolgorukiy).](2 sea trials)

Under development

Project 885 (Graney) attack submarines (Sea trials)

British Royal Navy


HMS Dreadnought (S101)

Valiant class attack submarines

Resolution class ballistic missile submarines

Churchill class attack submarines

Swiftsure class attack submarines


Trafalgar class attack submarines

Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines

Astute class attack submarines

Under development

Vanguard replacement SSBN (In development)

French Navy

Redoutable class ballistic missile submarines


Rubis class attack submarines

Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines

Under development

Barracuda class attack submarines (In development)

Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy


Type 091 (Han) attack submarines


Type 092 (Xia) ballistic missile submarines

Type 093 (Shang) attack submarines

Type 094 (Jin) ballistic missile submarines

Under development

Type 095 attack submarines (In development)

Type 096 (Tang) ballistic missile submarines (In development)

Indian Navy

INS Chakra leased Soviet Charlie-class submarine commissioned between 1987 - 1991.


INS Chakra leased Russian Akula Class attack submarine, named after the previous INS Chakra

Arihant class submarine INS Arihant

Under development

Arihant class submarine - 1 in sea trial as INS Arihant, 2 under construction next one is named INS Aridhaman)

Arihant follow-on submarine - (currently under design phase expected 2018.)

Six Nuclear Attack Submarine

Brazilian Navy
Under development

SNB lvaro Alberto - SN10 attack submarines

See also: List of sunken nuclear submarines

Reactor accidents
Some of the most serious nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll in the world have involved
nuclear submarine mishaps. To-date, all of these were units of the former Soviet Union. Reactor
accidents that resulted in core damage and release of radioactivity from nuclear-powered
submarines include

K-8, 1960, loss-of-coolant accident; substantial radioactivity released

K-14, 1961, reactor compartment replaced due to unspecified "breakdown of reactor

protection systems."

K-19, 1961, loss-of-coolant accident resulting in 8 deaths and more than 30 other people
being over-exposed to radiation. The events on board the submarine are dramatized by the
film K-19: The Widowmaker.

K-11, 1965, both reactors damaged during refueling while lifting the reactor vessel heads;
reactor compartments scuttled off the east coast of Novaya Zemlya in the Kara Sea in 1966.

K-27, 1968, experienced reactor core damage to one of its liquid metal (lead-bismuth)
cooled VT-1 reactors, resulting in 9 fatalities and 83 other injuries; scuttled in the Kara Sea in

K-140, 1968, reactor damaged following an uncontrolled, automatic increase in power

during shipyard work.[22]

K-429, 1970, an uncontrolled start up of the ship's reactor led to a fire and the release of

K-116, 1970, loss-of-coolant accident in the port reactor; substantial radioactivity


K-64, 1972, failure of the first Alfa-class liquid-metal cooled reactor; reactor compartment

K-222, 1980, Papa-class submarine had a reactor accident during maintenance in the
shipyard while the ship's naval crew had left for lunch. [22]

K-123, 1982, Alfa-class submarine reactor core damaged by liquid-metal coolant leak;
the sub was forced out of commission for eight years.[22][23]

K-431, 1985, a reactor accident while refueling resulted in 10 fatalities and 49 other
people suffered radiation injuries.[3]

K-219, 1986, suffered an explosion and fire in a missile tube, eventually leading to a
reactor accident; a 20-year-old enlisted seaman, Sergei Preminin, sacrificed his life to secure
one of the onboard reactors. The submarine sank three days later.

K-192, 1989, loss-of-coolant accident due to a break in the starboard reactor loop;
reclassified from K-131.

Other major accidents and sinkings[edit]

USS Thresher (SSN-593), 1963, was lost during deep diving tests; later investigation
concluded that failure of a brazed pipe joint and ice formation in the ballast blow valves
prevented surfacing. The accident motivated a number of safety changes to the U.S. fleet.

K-3, 1967, the first Soviet nuclear submarine, a fire associated with the hydraulic system
killed 39 sailors.

USS Scorpion (SSN-589), 1968, lost at sea, evidently due to implosion upon sinking.
What caused Scorpion to descend to its crush depth is not known.

USS Guitarro (SSN-665), 1969, sank while pier-side in shipyard due to improper

K-8, 1970, fire and a towing accident resulted in the boat's sinking and loss of all 52
crewmen remaining aboard.

K-56, 1973, collision with another Soviet vessel led to flooding of the battery well and
many crew deaths due to chlorine gas.

K-429, 1983, sub survivably sank to the ocean bottom due to flooding from improper rigfor-dive and shipyard errors; 16 crewmen were killed.

K-278 Komsomolets, 1989, Soviet submarine sank in Barents Sea due to a fire.

K-141 Kursk, 2000, the generally accepted theory is that a leak of hydrogen peroxide in
the forward torpedo room led to the detonation of a torpedo warhead, which in turn triggered
the explosion of half a dozen other warheads about two minutes later.

Ehime Maru & USS Greeneville, 2001, the American submarine surfaced underneath the
Japanese training vessel. Nine Japanese were killed when their ship sank as a result of the

K-159, 2003, sank in the Barents Sea while being towed to be scrapped, killing nine

USS San Francisco (SSN-711), 2005, collided with a seamount in the Pacific Ocean. A
crew member was killed and 23 others were injured.

USS Miami (SSN-755), 2012, the submarine's forward compartment was destroyed by
an arsonist-set fire while in shipyard, causing damage with an estimated $700 million in
repair costs. While repairs were initially planned upon, due to budget cuts the boat was
subsequently scrapped.[25]