Australian Submarines Safe from Cadmium

15 September 2009 (Last Updated September 15th, 2009 18:30)

The Australian fleet of Collins Class submarines which were quarantined following concerns over a leak of the hazardous heavy metal cadmium have been given a clean bill of health following extensive tests. The Australian Navy banned maintenance work on the submarine fleet when the toxi

The Australian fleet of Collins Class submarines which were quarantined following concerns over a leak of the hazardous heavy metal cadmium have been given a clean bill of health following extensive tests.

The Australian Navy banned maintenance work on the submarine fleet when the toxic chemical was detected during an initial swab testing conducted by the Australian Submarine Corporation.

Australian Defence personnel minister Greg Combet said the results received from the testing had indicated airborne cadmium levels within the fleet were well below dangerous levels.

"Samples from 52 maintenance staff tested returned a safe reading," Combet said.

"I can assure the Australian public that our operational submarines are ready and able to be deployed if needed,"

Cadmium has always been used in Collins Class submarine electrical components to minimise corrosion.

Inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes can result initially in metal fume fever, which could lead to death.