The US Navy Is Having a Hell of a Time Dismantling the USS Enterprise



six years after decommissioning USS Enterprise the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the US Navy is still figuring out how to safely dismantle the ship the General Accounting Office estimates the cost of taking apart the vessel and sending the reactors to a nuclear waste storage facility at up to 1.5 billion dollars or about one-eighth the cost of a brand-new aircraft carrier the USS Enterprise was commissioned in 1961 to be the centerpiece of a nuclear-powered carrier task force task force one that could sail around the world without refueling the fleet was a symbol of the Navy's global reach and its nuclear future during its 51 years in operation the enterprise served in the Cuban Missile Crisis blockade the Vietnam War in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the Navy too commissioned Enterprise in 2012 don't worry the third carrier of the new Gerald R Ford class will be named Lancer prize so the name will live on and remove the fuel from the eight Westinghouse a2w nuclear reactors in 2013 the plan was to scrap his ship and remove the reactors transporting them by barge from Puget Sound Naval Base down the Washington coast and up the Columbia River then trucking them to the Department of Energy's Hanford Site for permanent storage however after decommissioning the cost of disposing of the 93 thousand ton ship soared from an estimated $500 to 750 million dollars to more than a billion dollars this caused the Navy to put a pause on disposal while its went out cheaper options today the stripped down hull of the enterprise sits in Newport News Virginia awaiting its fate now according to a new General Accounting Office report the Navy has two options the first is to have the Navy manage the job but let the commercial industry to the non-nuclear work the Navy would allow industry to scrap the non-nuclear parts of the ship but preserve a 27,000 tonne propulsion space containing the reactors the propulsion space would then be transported to Puget Sound Naval Base where the reactors would be removed in Santee Hanford this is the most expensive option costing a minimum of one point zero five billion dollars up to one point five five billion dollars in taking ten years to complete starting in 2034 the second option led commercial industry to everything with the reactor storage location to be determined this would cost 750 million dollars to one point four billion dollars and would take five years to complete starting in 2024 in either event most of the ship gets turned into razor blades and flatware by a comparison a squadron of ten f-35c Joint Strike Fighters costs 1.2 to billion dollars and a brand-new burke-class guided-missile destroyer costs 1.7 billion dollars the GAO report paints the commercial option is faster and cheaper though there are a number of unknowns nobody knows where the hell will be dismantled under the commercial plan nor where the reactors would be sent although the Navy believes disposing of the reactors will be fairly straightforward no one has dismantled a nuclear-powered carrier before compounding the issue is not my problem intergovernmental dispute the naval nuclear propulsion program the arm of the Navy concerned with nuclear power says the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission could oversee a commercial effort but the NRC says Navy nuclear reactors are not its job it's not clear exactly why an NPP doesn't want a job although it currently has a backlog of 10 submarine reactors and to cruise our reactor to deal with which is probably why a Navy effort won't start until 2034 ultimately according to the GAO it may take Congress to make a decision whatever the Navy ends up doing this will only be the first of many nuclear-powered carrier disposals USS Nimitz is set to retire within the next 10 years and there are 10 ships in the class these will age out every 4 or 5 years for the next 40 years and each has two reactors the Navy must get enterprise's teardown right because the orders are going to start stacking up we have [Applause] [Applause]

40 thoughts on “The US Navy Is Having a Hell of a Time Dismantling the USS Enterprise

  1. I am glad to hear it. I tried to attend her decommissioning ceremony and the US Navy snubbed me………………… Long may she live.

  2. News flash kids – regulations require that the reactors be removed which means gutting the ship to the point its almost scrapped, wouldn't be enough left to use as a display ship.  All nuclear vessels are recycled (scrapped) after the fuel rods, reactors and radioactive sections are removed.

  3. Sounds like nobody gave the reactor disposal problem much serious thought over the years. Something for the grandkids to figure out.

  4. Downsized the carrier into a helicopter landing ship or bring it to west phillippine sea and aground it for a base.

  5. I say we devise a third strategy. Mothballs untill World War 3 and use her for escort duty of cargo vessels. Her and the Nimitz can ensure the crews get to where they need to be alive.

  6. I think they should remove the reactors and sink the ship like they did with the USS oriskany. That way the navy saves money and the the ocean life befits from a new artificial reef as well as a place for recreational diving.

  7. It’s the first nuclear powered carrier, remove the “reactors” and set it as a museum. I would definitely go see it!

  8. Hey, squid! Use your own fracking voice! Or, if you haven't the hair on your sack to speak in public with a grown up voice, don't post on YouTube.

    Here endeth the lesson!

  9. Lots of comments saying to just remove the reactors and do various things with the hull.
    The problem is that they'd have to basically gut the ship to get the reactors out.

  10. Nothing will ever beat Navy Distilate Fuel Oil and B&W Boilers. You cant send these carriers to ship breakers.

  11. I really don`t understand,the US spent Trillions on wars, and they have no money to save the best ship on the Navy Shame on!!!!

  12. Could probably sell it to India for a pretty penny. A few years back they bought a mothballed Soviet-era carrier for a bargain basement price. That Soviet carrier has been nothing but trouble for them, extremely unreliable and they've sunk a bunch of cash into it. The Enterprise although 50 plus years old is in better shape than that Russian junk. Use the money from the sale to offset the cost of building the Big E's replacement. Even though we get rid of them after a certain amount of mileage and time, with a proper refit I'd bet she's still got some good years left in her. And since the Soviet carrier is their only one I believe, a good condition replacement for that junker would be welcomed.

  13. It sounds like a conventionally powered carrier would have been cheaper in the long run, just like some modern diesel electric submarines would be cost effective. The U.S., however; likes to go first class despite the expense.

  14. Remove Nuclear plant, convert to diesel and Sell to the Philippines, Taiwan, or Vietnam. Highest bidder. Use that money to offset the Cost of a new stealth Carrier.
    That has a complement of new stealth scram fighter and bomber drones and scram Missles. Lasers. Cloaking, photon torpedoes, and Call it Enterprises D

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