Naval Reactors History Database (nrhdb)
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1Title:  Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program--1976 Add
 Summary:  This document is the unclassified record of hearings on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program held in March 1976. Admiral Hyman Rickover, Director, Division of Naval Reactors, testified on the Naval Reactors Program and the Light Water Breeder Reactor (LWBR). After summarizing the program's growth (106 submarines in operation, with an additional 32 Los Angeles-class and Trident submarines authorized; and, two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in operation), Rickover describes the rapid growth of the Soviet submarine fleet and the United States' responses of the high-speed, fast attack (SSN-688) class and the Trident ballistic missile submarine to replace Polaris and Poseidon ballistic missile submarines. Some committee members, led by Stuart Symington, express concerns about the high cost of the Trident submarine program. In a statement, Rickover notes the advances provided by Trident in terms of ballistic missile range (permitting submarines to be based closer to the United States) and noise reduction, terming the Trident program as "vital to our national survival" (37). Rickover also includes a defense of nuclear-powered escort vessels in his statement: "Just as I recommended that new aircraft carriers be nuclear powered, so do I recommend that new guided-missile major combatants built to accompany them be nuclear powered" (41). He also compares nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers (CSGNs) with DDG-47 (the USS Ticonderoga), which used gas turbine propulsion, the system that eventually supplanted nuclear propulsion for carrier group escort destroyers and cruisers. A lengthy 1975 environmental monitoring report for the Naval Reactors program (including nuclear-powered ships and support facilities) is included as an appendix. 
 Date:   1976 
 Subject(s):  Rickover, Hyman G. | Naval Reactors 
 Type:  Text 
 Format:  PDF 
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2Title:  The USS Nimitz underway, with nuclear-powered escorts Add
 Summary:  The USS Nimitz at sea, escorted by the nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers USS South Carolina (top) and USS California. The Nimitz was commissioned on 3 May 1975 and is powered by two A4W reactor plants co-designed by the Knolls and Bettis atomic power laboratories. The nearly fourteen year delay between the commissionings of the Enterprise and Nimitz was, in large part, the product of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's refusal to accept a four reactor plant carrier, and the severe design challenges of powering an aircraft carrier (including propulsion and catapults) using two reactor plants. 
 Reference:  Duncan, Francis. Rickover: The Struggle for Excellence. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 2001, pages 174-187. 
 Date:   1976 
 Subject(s):  A4W | D2G | USS Nimitz (CVN-68) | USS South Carolina (CGN-37) | USS California (CGN-36) | Naval Reactors 
 Type:  Image 
 Format:  JPEG 
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