Is the Perle submarine cursed?
A hundred firefighters managed to control Monday a disaster that occurred on board, currently under construction at the naval base of Toulon, indicates the maritime prefecture, specifying that any radioactive risk has been ruled out.
Ravaged by a spectacular fire in June 2020 while under maintenance in Toulon, the Perle had to undergo heavy repairs in Cherbourg.
He then returned to Toulon in October 2021 for the finalization of the interior work in particular.
Monday, around 12:42 p.m., a combustion “a priori of insulating materials” was detected “at the level of a room intended for the storage of food” at the front of the submarine, specifies the spokesperson for the maritime prefecture Pierre -Louis Josselin.
It's French talent!🇬🇧 Terrific
teams, an ambitious industrial operation: the nuclear attack submarine La Perle will return to its home port in Toulon in the coming days after a high-quality repair. stolen#Our Defense pic.twitter.com/k19W98VbGw
- Ministry of the Armies 🇫🇷 (@Armees_Gouv) October 27, 2021
Forty marine firefighters from the naval base, reinforced by 52 marine firefighters from Marseille, then attacked these "hot spots, that is to say combustion without flames", using water to lower temperature, he added.
"There was no radioactive risk, the submarine being in cold shutdown", that is to say loaded with nuclear fuel in its rear part, "but the reactor stopped", further specified this spokesperson indicating that samples were taken to ensure the absence of risks.
A strategic rehabilitation
After several hours, the "disaster was brought under control", but will be the subject of careful observation this night, said frigate captain Pierre-Louis Josselin.
If the maritime prefecture had first mentioned a "fire" in a press release, he preferred to speak of "combustion without flames".
The causes of the disaster have not been determined at this stage, he added while Naval Group is carrying out work on this military building.
“This disaster was not comparable to that of 2020, which was an industrial fire, with significant flames”, according to the spokesperson for the maritime prefecture.
He could not specify whether there would be any consequences for the return to the operational cycle of the submarine, initially planned for the first half of 2023.
The refit of the Perle is an important element of the navy's strategy, which is based on the presence of six nuclear attack submarines, one of whose missions is to support the nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SNLE) but also to escort the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle, key elements of French deterrence.