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US Navy Decommissions the First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier (engadget.com) 203

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The Navy has decommissioned the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The vessel launched in 1961 and is mainly known for playing a pivotal role in several major incidents and conflicts, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War. However, it also served as the quintessential showcase for what nuclear ships could do. Its eight reactors let it run for years at a time, all the while making more room for the aircraft and their fuel. As you might guess, the decommissioning process (which started when the Enterprise went inactive in 2012) is considerably trickier than it would be for a conventional warship. It wasn't until December 2016 that crews finished extracting nuclear fuel, and the ship will have to be partly dismantled to remove the reactors. They'll be disposed of relatively safely at Hanford Site, home of the world's first plutonium reactor. Whatever you think of the tech, the ship leaves a long legacy on top of its military accomplishments. It proved the viability of nuclear aircraft carriers, leading the US to build the largest such fleet in the world. Also, this definitely isn't the last (real-world) ship to bear the Enterprise name -- the future CVN-80 will build on its predecessor with both more efficient reactors and systems designed for modern combat, where drones and stealth are as important as fighters and bombers. It won't be ready until 2027, but it should reflect many of the lessons learned over the outgoing Enterprise's 55 years of service.
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US Navy Decommissions the First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

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  • Obligatory... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lord_mike ( 567148 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:26PM (#53814543)

    “Let’s make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise. Picard out”

    • Kirk is better!

      • Maybe if Captain Kames Kirk does great on the Zumwalt , they'll give him Enterprise!

        • by Megane ( 129182 )
          (some assembly required)
        • While every geek in the DoD is wishing for this, it is unlikely. Apparently, the Skippers of aircraft carriers are drawn from the ranks of the naval aviation community. Considering Kirk is the CO of a destroyer, he's almost certainly a Surface Warfare Officer. At best they'll make him the senior man of CVN-80 Enterprise's escorts.
        • The odds of it are hilariously low. The first captain of CVN-80 will likely be someone who is currently ranked Commander or Lt Commander.

          CVN-80 isn't scheduled for commission until 2027. There is a statutory retirement of 30 years of commissioned service. It requires a minimum of 21 years of commissioned service before you're eligible to be promoted to Captain. It is impossible for Captain James Kirk to still be a commissioned officer in the navy and have the rank of Captain because he would have hit the ma

          • Oh, found out James Kirk was commissioned in 1990, which means he'll hit 30 years of commissioned service in 2020 so even if the Enterprise is commissioned in 2025 when it's scheduled to be completed Captain Kirk will be an admiral or retired.

    • by pr0t0 ( 216378 )

      Nooocleeeaarrr Wessels

  • Defueling (Score:5, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:34PM (#53814593)
    Enterprise had 8 A2W reactors so there was a lot of cutting and fuel removal that had to take place. In contrast, the next Enterprise will have 2 propulsion reactors. It would be nice if they can turn he into a museum somewhere, much like was done with the Nautilus.
    • Re:Defueling (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:40PM (#53814627) Journal
      I heard once that if Enterprise had ever operated with all four propulsion plants in dual reactor mode, the ship would easily be the fastest capital ship in the world, and that the Nimitz classes are all much slower than the Enterprise was if taken to flank speed.
      • Re:Defueling (Score:5, Informative)

        by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @08:39PM (#53815875)
        The limiting factor with nuke powered ships is the propellers; you can only spin them so fast before they start to cavitate (usually somewhere around 100 knots for a big surface ship, somewhat higher for a submarine), The engines can deliver the horsepower.
        • The limiting factor to speed is a concern with months out of dry dock due to barnacle build up. I could tell you more, but then I would have to kill you. A former CMO of 3 MMR.
        • What about wave drag? You can deliver all the horsepower you want and the ship might still not like that.
        • Re:Defueling (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2017 @07:28AM (#53817795)

          The limiting factor with nuke powered ships is the propellers; you can only spin them so fast before they start to cavitate (usually somewhere around 100 knots for a big surface ship, somewhat higher for a submarine), The engines can deliver the horsepower.

          Umm, no.

          The limiting factor on the top speed of the Enterprise was the strength of her propeller shafts. IIRC, the #4 propulsion plant's shaft was over 600 feet long.

          Enterprise was originally built with high-speed screws that were removed in her first overhaul (again, IIRC) because the higher torque needed to spin them would have limited the life of the shafts.

          Even without the high-speed screws, she was faster than the Nimitz-class carriers. Enterprise had a hull that was longer and thinner, and she had 320,000 HP compared to the 260,000 or 280,000 for the Nimitz class. I'd venture that Enterprise could top out at over 40 kts even at the end of her life.

          But hey, what do I know. I only ran those propulsion plants for a couple of years.

          • 40 knots is awfully fast, requiring well over twice the power of 30 knots, and I don't know what the Enterprise's hull speed is offhand. She's about as long as ships that made 33 knots in WWII, so that would be my estimate.

      • They have. With air ops.
      • The USN has never published a top speed (just "at least 30 knots"), I wonder if they'll declassify the data now that the ship's been decommissioned.

        This article [navweaps.com] makes a good case that a top speed higher than 33.6 knots is unlikely.
        With all 8 reactors at full power, the ship makes more steam than the turbines (rated for 280kshp) can handle.

      • The limiting factor for speed of any ship is its length and the size of the resulting bow wave. Regardless of how much power you can put out beyond a certain speed a ship starts to effectively climb over it's own bow wave and suddenly needs an exponential increase in propulsion power for a maginal gain.

        The propellers would cavitate and destroy themselves long before a ship overcame these limits imposed by their dimensions, not by their engine.

    • Re: Defueling (Score:5, Informative)

      by gweilo8888 ( 921799 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:45PM (#53814655)
      You'd think so, but apparently Entreprise is to be entirely scrapped, and not even a significant piece of her such as her island will be placed in a museum:

      http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/10/22/enterprise-nimitz-class-carriers-wont-be-museums.html [military.com]
  • by gweilo8888 ( 921799 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:37PM (#53814611)
    ...it's the entire contents of the article, minus the ads and with Slashdot's wrapped around it instead. This is copyright theft, pure and simple, and this summary should be deleted and replaced with a much, MUCH more abbreviated version.
    • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:54PM (#53814723)

      Oh, but they did abbreviate it! They managed to remove all the paragraph formatting.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      ...it's the entire contents of the article, minus the ads and with Slashdot's wrapped around it instead. This is copyright theft, pure and simple, and this summary should be deleted and replaced with a much, MUCH more abbreviated version.

      Or... maybe Engadget's article could be deleted and replaced with a much, MUCH more detailed and information-rich version.

      • If the article is so bad, why is Slashdot linking to it in the first place? You can't have it both ways. Either it was newsworthy and contained sufficient content to justify its existence (in which case stealing it is bad), or it wasn't newsworthy or lacked sufficient information to be worth reading it (in which case mentioning it in the first place was bad.) Either way, Slashdot is in the wrong here.
        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          If the article is so bad, why is Slashdot linking to it in the first place?

          We're talking about the same Slashdot whose editors approve regurgitated press releases and Bennett Haselton, right?

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:37PM (#53815029)

      ...it's the entire contents of the article, minus the ads and with Slashdot's wrapped around it instead..

      If the entire article is only 255 words, Engadget's paying that editor too much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xenographic ( 557057 )

      No, that's simply copyright infringement.

      You can't really "steal" a copyright unless you actually re-registered it in your own name somehow, perhaps by creating a fake memorandum of transfer. I don't see anyone depriving them of the copyright itself, just infringing upon some of the exclusive rights granted to them by copyright. At least, assuming the submitter wasn't authorized by the copyright holder. I sincerely doubt that they do have any such authorization, but Engaget and anyone they chose to infor

    • copyright theft

      That phrase is an oxymoron. Either it's copyright infringment or it's theft, but it cannot be both.

      • I copied that last week AND you stole it. FTFY
    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      ...it's the entire contents of the article, minus the ads and with Slashdot's wrapped around it instead. This is copyright theft, pure and simple, and this summary should be deleted and replaced with a much, MUCH more abbreviated version.

      *infringement.

      C'mon, this is Slashdot. We've been making that clear distinction since 1997.

  • Enterprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:47PM (#53814675)
    For the curious, the US Navy has already decided on the next ship to be named the U.S.S. Enterprise. It will be the third Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier, scheduled to be laid down in 2018, launched in 2023, and commissioned in 2025. No word yet on whether it will be sent on a five-year mission afterwards.

    Personally, I wish they'd named the first ship of that class Enterprise, and let Ford be one of the latter ones, so it could be the "Enterprise Class." Ah well. :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:59PM (#53814751)

      Personally, I wish they'd named the first ship of that class Enterprise, and let Ford be one of the latter ones, so it could be the "Enterprise Class." Ah well. :)

      Why not keep the ship name "Enterprise", but rename the class to "Constitution"?

    • Re:Enterprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:00PM (#53814765)

      Navy ships should have proper, bold, majestic, fighting names. Stop naming them after defunct politicians and overambitious military blowhards.

      The Royal Navy knows how to do it.

      • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:11PM (#53814851)

        Navy ships should have proper, bold, majestic, fighting names. Stop naming them after defunct politicians and overambitious military blowhards.

        The Royal Navy knows how to do it.

        Only after they learned the hard way with what happened to The Prince of Wales.

        • by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:17PM (#53814885)

          Name them like Iain M. Banks does. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • by Psiren ( 6145 )

            I love the culture novels, and some of the ship names are just fantastic. I was chuffed to see SpaceX name some of their drone ships after these. I really hope the next one is called "Funny, It Worked Last Time...". At some point it'll probably be very apt.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            Name them like Iain M. Banks does

            The ships themselves need to be sentient for that to work, I think. Besides, even in Banks' creation, different civilizations have very different approaches to ship-naming. And the humanity from Earth is decidedly not part of Culture.

          • The GOU Overwhelming Display of Declining Military Power
          • SpaceX does that.
            But then, their ships are autonomous.

        • Navy ships should have proper, bold, majestic, fighting names.

          The Royal Navy knows how to do it.

          Only after they learned the hard way with what happened to The Prince of Wales.

          I can assure you that the Prince of Whales was the only ship like that. Others were given names such as:

          the HMS Pansy

          er no ok wait, how about:

          the HMS Cockchafer

          I mean sure that sounds like an unpleasant thing to do to an enemy, but it doesn't sound exactly terminal. OK so how about:

          The HMS Griper.

          I heard there were also plans for an "H

      • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Monday February 06, 2017 @07:40PM (#53815505) Homepage Journal

        Are you that afraid of there appearing a Trump-class of ships some day?

        It will be huge. And beautiful...

      • Stop naming them after defunct politicians and overambitious military blowhards. The Royal Navy knows how to do it.

        They HAVE TO. There's just too many ridiculous British names...

        Let's hear it for the HMS Ridgewell Hancock

    • Re:Enterprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:00PM (#53814767)

      Personally, I wish they'd named the first ship of that class Enterprise, and let Ford be one of the latter ones

      Personally, I think we should stop naming ships, or anything else, after dead politicians. Or, even worse, living politicians [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Enterprise (Score:4, Informative)

      by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:02PM (#53814779) Journal

      In true Star Trek form though, the original Enterprise is actually a Constitution class [wikipedia.org] star ship. I'm too lazy to see if any of the later Enterprises defined their class.

      • Re:Enterprise (Score:4, Informative)

        by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:12PM (#53814865)

        The -D (ST:TNG) is a Galaxy class. And I'm not enough of a Trekkie to know the rest.

        • These are the ones from the TV show and movies.

          NX-01 - NX class - served 2151 to 2161
          NCC-1701 - Constitution class - served 2245 to 2285
          NCC-1701-A - Constitution class (refit) - served 2286 to 2293
          NCC-1701-B - Excelsior class (refit) - served 2293 to 2329
          NCC-1701-C - Ambassador class - served 2332 to 2344
          NCC-1701-D - Galaxy class - served 2363 to 2371
          NCC-1701-D alternate timeline - Galaxy class (refit), aka Galaxy-X, aka Galaxy-dreadnought - served ? to ~2395
          NCC-1701-E - Sovereign class - served 2372 to ?
          NC

          • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

            These are the ones from the TV show and movies.

            NX-01 - NX class - served 2151 to 2161
            NCC-1701 - Constitution class - served 2245 to 2285
            NCC-1701-A - Constitution class (refit) - served 2286 to 2293 ...
            NCC-1701-D - Galaxy class - served 2363 to 2371
            NCC-1701-D alternate timeline - Galaxy class (refit), aka Galaxy-X, aka Galaxy-dreadnought - served ? to ~2395

            Aren't the NX-class prototype/experimental designs?
            Kinda interesting they would use a ship like that for 10 years, yet the NCC-1701-D was only in service for eight years -- or was that because of it being destroyed in that one TNG movie? Also the original service design (NCC-1701) was in service for 30 years, but then gets only another five years after a major refit.

            • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

              Also the original service design (NCC-1701) was in service for 30 years, but then gets only another five years after a major refit.

              Brain fart there. Seven years, not five. Still doesn't seem like much bang for the buck.

          • These are the ones from the TV show and movies.

            NX-01 - NX class - served 2151 to 2161
            NCC-1701 - Constitution class - served 2245 to 2285
            NCC-1701-A - Constitution class (refit) - served 2286 to 2293
            NCC-1701-B - Excelsior class (refit) - served 2293 to 2329
            NCC-1701-C - Ambassador class - served 2332 to 2344
            NCC-1701-D - Galaxy class - served 2363 to 2371
            NCC-1701-D alternate timeline - Galaxy class (refit), aka Galaxy-X, aka Galaxy-dreadnought - served ? to ~2395
            NCC-1701-E - Sovereign class - served 2372 to ?
            NCC-1701-J - Universe class (possible/alternate future) - served 26th century

            Star Trek Online has the NCC-1701-F Enterprise - Odyssey class.

        • B is Excelsior class. C is some weird hybrid kitbash thing (The Internet says Ambassador class). I stopped caring after D.
      • I looked it up. None of the ships to bear the name Enterprise in Star Trek defined their class.

        Ships with the name Enterprise were, in historical order from the main Star Trek timeline, of the NX class, Constitution class, Constitution refit class, Excelsior refit class, Ambassador class, Galaxy class and Sovereign class

    • The Ford class? Fix or repair daily?
  • by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:49PM (#53814695) Homepage

    You have to admit... what army/navy/etc. would sink a nuclear ship in their own waters during war? You'd have to think twice about that - it could be a good deterrent to being attacked. If sunk, it could be a major issue in your region for generations to come.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:08PM (#53814823)

      what army/navy/etc. would sink a nuclear ship in their own waters during war?

      Given the opportunity, all of them.

      If sunk, it could be a major issue in your region for generations to come.

      Nine nuclear ships have sunk at sea [wikipedia.org]. None of them resulted in significant radiation release. The reactors are designed to withstand sinking.

      • Nine nuclear ships have sunk at sea. None of them resulted in significant radiation release.

        Yet.
         
        And precisely none of them were sunk under attack. (And two of them aren't even in the ocean any more - they are salvaged.) That's an awful thin experience base on which to make long term judgements.

    • You have to admit... what army/navy/etc. would sink a nuclear ship in their own waters during war? You'd have to think twice about that - it could be a good deterrent to being attacked. If sunk, it could be a major issue in your region for generations to come.

      It's astonishing that anyone (let alone 6 digit slashdotters) still thinks of radioactive contamination like this.

      It might be an issue for the fishing industry due to bioaccumulation, but there would be no other significantly worrisome effects. Water absorbs radiation very effectively and unlike fallout on land, currents would eventually disperse any radionuclides that didn't immediately settle on the sea floor.

      We're constantly surrounded by radiation. The entire Earth is, in fact, a nuclear react [scientificamerican.com]

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      You have to admit... what army/navy/etc. would sink a nuclear ship in their own waters during war? You'd have to think twice about that - it could be a good deterrent to being attacked. If sunk, it could be a major issue in your region for generations to come.

      You sink the ship, then accuse the country that owned the ship of attacking you with a nuclear capability.

      There you go, you now have given yourself approval for a nuclear retaliation.

      Seems like crazy logic, but let's see if it happens in the South China Sea soon.

  • by nomadicGeek ( 453231 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @05:59PM (#53814747)

    My father pointed out to me that the nuclear carriers can be a great help after humanitarian disasters as they can desalinate large quantities of water. I found an article about the Carl Vincent that says that it can desalinate 400,000 gallons of water a day. We stationed it off the coast of Haiti after the earthquakes there.

    http://content.time.com/time/s... [time.com]

    • the Carl Vincent

      Please tell me that's your spellchecker.

  • Photons? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:03PM (#53814791)
    Team leader, this is team two. Come in, please.

    I have the coordinates of the reactor.

    Kirk here.

    Admiral, we have found the nuclear wessel.

    Well done, you two!

    And Admiral... it is the *Enterprise*!
    • Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one to think of George and Gracie.
    • First thing I thought of, too.

      I was bummed to find out that the the USS Enterprise in the movie was actually played by the USS Ranger, temporarily re-branded.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @06:46PM (#53815103)

    Looks like the Hanford site has had quite a few problems:
    Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup Plant May Be Too Dangerous
    https://www.scientificamerican... [scientificamerican.com]

    Report finds serious defects at Hanford nuclear waste treatment plant
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/... [latimes.com]

  • I wonder if there's any possibility of this ship being used for civilian purposes? If it's good enough for carrying armed aircraft and hundreds of crewmen, it should be OK for doing the same minus the weapons.
    Or... after all those years in service, will the Enterprise still have any shipbuilding secrets worth hiding?

    Apart from the obvious use as a supervillain HQ, a large ship with helicopters and airplanes could be useful for rescue operations and support to places needing help following natural disasters

    • Such ships seem like a great idea - some years ago there was one for sale (not sure who the previous owner was). I seem to remember it was for sale in the low-millions of dollars sort of range. The thing is, to get it off the dock you need millions more just to tow it, millions more to dock it somewhere you can work on it and then (probably) hundreds of millions more to refit it and make it work in any useful sense.

      There's a reason military budgets get measured in the billions ;-)

    • It would be far too expensive to maintain or operate and ocean travel can take a long time. More likely than not a US supercarrier is going to be closer to the disaster that occurs than the repurposed Enterprise.

    • Civilian aid agencies can't afford to run it, and the military needs the money for the F35 and the Ford class gravy train.

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