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Rickover, Hyman G. (1)
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1Title:  Naval Nuclear Propulsion Progam Add
 Summary:  This Joint Committee on Atomic Energy hearing document includes lengthy testimony by Admiral Hyman Rickover, Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion. It covers a wide range of issues related to the United States Navy's use of nuclear propulsion. As noted in the forward, "the Joint Committee has long recognized the significant military advantages nuclear power provides surface warships" (iii). The hearing is a response to the Department of Defense's (DOD's) proposal to construct two conventionally-powered destroyers after Congress authorized a nuclear-powered frigate in fiscal year 1966. In his testimony, Rickover describes this decision as parallel to earlier "failure[s] of imagination and judgment" regarding the use of nuclear propulsion for submarines and aircraft carriers (11). Based upon this hearing, "the Joint Committee recommend[ed] that the Congress change the fiscal year 1967 Department of Defense authorization to require the two new destroyers to be nuclear-powered ships" (vii). The hearing includes a discussion of budget issues related to the committee's interest in reversing this recommendation. Defense secretary Robert McNamara's lengthy opposition to nuclear-powered carriers is referenced in the forward: "The recommendation of the Joint Committee that a nuclear propulsion plant be installed in the fiscal year 1963 aircraft carrier, the John F. Kennedy, in lieu of the planned conventional propulsion plant was not accepted by the Department of Defense" (iv). However, in March 1966, McNamara accepted nuclear propulsion for the next aircraft carrier (hull number 68). In his testimony, Admiral Rickover notes that this carrier will be powered by two nuclear reactors, which he estimated, would support the ship's propulsion for 13 years before refueling. In describing the engineering approach of Naval Reactors, Rickover asserts that the core lives of submarines and ships had been extended "by building and testing prototypes of these new cores, not by merely making paper studies" (5). He then links DOD's (under McNamara) dependence on cost studies to the slow application of nuclear propulsion to the surface fleet. One of the news items inserted into the record at Rickover's request quotes Captain James Holloway, then captain of the USS Enterprise, who described Enterprise's performance in the Vietnam War: "The deeper you get into a combat situation the more advantages you see to nuclear power" (7). Rickover also describes the fact that the planned two reactor carrier would carry almost twice the amount of aviation fuel and 50 percent more ammunition compared with a conventionally-powered carrier. Finally, Admiral Rickover describes training in the nuclear propulsion program for officers and enlisted candidates, including the theoretical (Nuclear Power School) and practical (prototype training) components, which remain in place today. He notes that the training "emphasizes principles and understanding of fundamentals instead of memorization" (16). 
 Date:   1966 
 Subject(s):  Rickover, Hyman G. | Naval Reactors 
 Type:  Text 
 Format:  PDF 
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