USS Enterprise (CVN-65) dismantling options now under active exploration

The Navy will be holding a public meeting in Brownsville, Texas, on June 20, 2019, to take public comment in regards to the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) being broken up in Brownsville.

The Navy has four main options for dismantling the Enterprise.

  1. Dismantling the ship at Newport News and shipping the 8 reactors overland to Bremerton, Washington, though I personally feel the odds of this are fairly low.

  2. Dismantling the ship at Brownsville, Texas and shipping the 8 reactors overland to Bremerton.

  3. Dismantling the ship at Brownsville and scrapping the reactors on site and shipping the dismantled and melted remnants of the reactor to a site in West Texas for disposal.

  4. Towing the ship all the way around tip of South America to Bremerton, Washington and dismantling the ship and reactors there. I would note that due to the backlog at Bremerton, breakup of the Enterprise could not even START until 2034 at the earliest.

I feel option 2, which will be discussed along with option 3 at the upcoming meeting is by far the most likely option. I don’t think they will want to dispose of the reactors at Brownsville which makes option 3 unlikely. Brownsville is capable of handling and segregating nuclear impacted waste in the Enterprise. Such metal will have to be segregated from nuclear free metal and sent to a secure disposal site.

In any event, disposal of the Enterprise is expected to cost $1.5 Billion and take 4 to 5 years.

Why don’t we just remove the reactors then sink what’s left in the same place next to the evil Decepticon Transformers. :grin:

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I had suggested towing it out over the Marianas trench and pumping it full of torpedoes, reactors and all, but they didn’t like that idea. :smile:

We could just do what the Russians do and pick a place near the arctic circle and dump the whole ship.

Granted it would make that little area where it rests radioactive as hell for the sea life. But the Russians have an entire graveyard of nuclear submarines just sitting off their northern coastline.

Hell they obviously don’t care about contamination. I say we pay them to take care of it.

I dinna think the Marianas Trench can hold it, Captain!

maybe they could park it near New York City and give tours…

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I think they should leave it up to Trump since he said how much of an expert he is on all things nuclear.
When it was decommissioned I read a article that said Bremerton was the site. The backlog issue was not publicized.

Bremerton was ASSuMEd by many sources and individuals early on, but many people were simply unaware of the massive, frankly EPIC, backlog at Bremerton.

But going beyond just the USS Enterprise, there is a massive issue this country must face due to its insistence on building every capital ship/boat since the late 1960’s as a nuclear vessel.

We have only one dedicated nuclear breaking facility in the United States and that is at Bremerton. They are up to their necks in decommissioned submarines, primarily Los-Angeles class submarines. Now we have the Enterprise in the queue.

And starting around 2022 to 2025, we will have the Nimitz class entering the queue.

I think this country needs to consider building a dedicated nuclear scrapping facility near Brownsville, that can reduce reactors and contaminated metal to a form safe for overland transport to a disposal area.

Bremerton is already losing the battle as decommissioned submarines sit for years awaiting breaking.

On the other side of the equation, this country might need to consider building fewer nuclear vessels and perhaps switching some attack submarines to diesel propulsion to reduce the number of nuclear vessels needing to be scrapped down the road.

I don’t think people have a clue of the disposal problem we will have over the next several decades.

It’s a shame that she’s going to be broken up. She was one of kind and deserved a better fate
than that.
I on her from 1992 -1995.
She was my last command before retirement.

Captain Michael Malone?

No, the CO before him. Capt Richard Naughton.

Funny thing, Naughton was a Tomcat driver and about 6 ft 2 in tall

The XO on he other hand (can’t remember his name) was a Helo guy and was abou 5 ft 5 in

It was funny as hell to watch them walkdown the pier togerher.

Mutt and Jeff. :slight_smile:

I remember the Midway and the Enterprise pissing the Russian’s off in - must have been '82 or '83.

When the Russian realized they’d lost a carrier battle group, they were pissed. Big E had just come out of refit and was taking a northern route to for her WESTPAC instead of going south via Hawaii. Midway deployed from Yokosuka and conducted ops off of Japan for 3 or 4 days and then went full EMCON and headed north. While we did that one of the small boys broke off and headed south toward Okinawa.

They played tapes of the flight ops over the radio at appropriate times. When the Russians sent Bears out to recon the Enterprise they were surprised at ■■■■ to have a couple of F-4’s show up on their tail with “U.S.S. Midway” painted on the side.

We and the Enterprise were under constant recon flights and flight ops for the better part of the next 3 days. But it was worth it.

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One of these days when I’m out to the West Coast I plan on visiting the Midway in San Diego.

I know it won’t be the same though.

Way too expensive to turn into a museum ship. Plus the reactors have to be removed. That’s a difficult procedure that involves cutting the hull.

Don’t modern subs have to be nuclear powered with our current naval war strategy?

Diesel-Electric boats don’t have anywhere near the endurance of nuclear powered subs. Plus from what I’ve read they are a lot slower while submerged (although they are competitive while surfaced).

We should go back to conventional power for carriers, though. I’m extremely pro nuclear but considering the enormous costs of nuclear propulsion plus the decommissioning nightmare (subs are bad enough) it just makes sense to revert to gas turbine power. Even the French are considering going non-nuclear for their next carrier and no one loves nuclear power more than the French.

Honestly I’m at the point to where we call the British, have them pull that CATOBAR version of the Queen Elizabeth they blueprinted then canceled out of its filing cabinet, and we build the damn thing for our own use.

Conventional aircraft cariers are less capable then nuke carriers.
They require constant refueling which increases the need for support ships to refuel them.
The tanks used to hold fuel for the ship could better be used holding jet fuel for the boat’s embarked aircraft.

New York already has the Intrepid, anyway.

Wasn’t the Enterprise the carrier in the movie The Final Countdown?

Edit: no that was the Nimitz.

It may be necessary to sacrifice capability in the name of easier disposability in at least SOME new vessel construction.

We are building nuclear at a far faster rate than we can dispose of nuclear and at some point, it may leave us with a backlog of dangerous used nuclear vessels that we simply don’t even have room to store properly pending disposal.

The new Columbia-class of nuclear missile submarines MUST be nuclear powered, due to the very nature of their mission. However, I think it would be quite possible to create a non-nuclear fork of the Virginia-class of submarines. Construction of nuclear Virginia-class submarines would continue, but at least one facility could churn out a diesel variety.

As for aircraft carriers, I think we are over-saturated with super-carriers which would be of extremely limited value in a war against China, given China’s increasingly sophisticated area denial technology. I would limit construction of the Ford-class and create a conventional powered, slightly smaller carrier class suited for use against lesser foes such as Iran and Syria.

There are cuts we can make that will prevent a potential disaster down the road from an excessive backlog of nuclear vessels that have reached the end of their service life.

Even if the vessel could be converted to a museum ship, the upkeep would be prohibitive, beyond all by the largest cities (New York or Los Angeles) in terms of plausibility.

Hell, the State of Texas is barely keeping the Battleship Texas afloat and that vessel is only a minute fraction of the size.

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