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Canada may buy nuclear submarines via CBC News

Harper government considers mothballing 4 British-made diesel subs

CBC News has learned the Harper government is considering buying nuclear submarines to replace its problem-plagued fleet of diesel-powered subs, all of which are currently awash in red ink and out of service for major repairs.

The four second-hand subs Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government bought from the British navy in 1998 for $750 million were portrayed at the time as the military bargain of the century.

Instead, they have spent almost all of their time in naval repair yards, submerging Canadian taxpayers in an ocean of bills now totalling more than $1 billion and counting.

One of the subs, HMCS Chicoutimi, has been in active service of the Royal Canadian Navy exactly two days in the 13 years since it was purchased from the Brits.

The Chicoutimi caught fire on its maiden voyage from the U.K. to Canada, killing one sailor and injuring a number of others.

It has been in the repair shop ever since, and isn’t expected back in service for at least another two years and $400 million more in repairs and retrofits.

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