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1Title:  Tour of "USS Enterprise" and report on Joint AEC Naval Reactor Program Add
 Summary:  This document is based on a hearing that members of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy conducted on board the USS Enterprise in the spring of 1962. The hearing touched on a number of issues, involving both capabilities and costs, which factored into the adoption of nuclear propulsion for aircraft carriers. The first commanding officer of the Enterprise, Vincent P. de Poix, summarized the benefits of nuclear propulsion for carriers, including the ability to rapidly position the ship for air operations, the ability to sail to a trouble spot because of the carrier's support for sustained high-speed propulsion, and the absence of stack gases in the flight deck area, which minimizes aircraft corrosion in comparison with operations on an oil-fired carrier. The qualitative advantages that de Poix summarized, however, were weighed against quantitative advantages emphasized by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who recommended in 1963 that the next carrier to be built (CV-67) be conventionally-powered. The hearing also provides a nice summary of the naval nuclear propulsion training program, including the role of the Idaho National Laboratory's A1W prototype. Both the Enterprise's Reactor Officer, D.P. Brooks, and the ship's Engineering Officer, R.S. Smith, testify at the hearing and describe training approaches and the organization of the Enterprise's nuclear-trained officers and operators on the ship. The hearing document also includes "A treatise on nuclear propulsion in surface ships." This study was commissioned by Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, in late 1960 and was completed in early 1961. It detailed both the favorable and limiting aspects regarding the adoption of nuclear propulsion in surface ships. A cost factor of 1.5 was included in the study. As summarized by historian Francis Duncan, this finding suggested that "the navy could buy ten nuclear-powered ships or fifteen oil-fired ships of the same type for the same total sum." Admiral Hyman Rickover (Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion) also testified at this hearing and addressed both this cost factor and the capabilities provided by nuclear propulsion. Finally, pages 54 through 56 of the hearing document include Rickover's summary of Shippingport Atomic Power Station reactor attributes and the potential benefits that the work at Shippingport could have for the nation's commercial nuclear power industry. 
 Reference:  Duncan, Francis. Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 1990, pages 111-114. 
 Date:  31 March 1962 
 Subject(s):  A1W | A2W | USS Enterprise (CVN-65) | Shippingport Atomic Power Station | Rickover, Hyman G. | Naval Reactors 
 Type:  Text 
 Format:  PDF 
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