Enterprise moves so Newport News Shipbuilding can upgrade 80-year-old pier
By DAVE RESS | The Daily Press | Published: February 18, 2021
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — The old Big E — the nation’s first nuclear aircraft carrier, now decommissioned — has moved from its home at Newport News Shipbuilding’s
That work will allow the USS Gerald R.
The work this year includes installing new 40-ton bollards, which are used to tie a carrier to the pier; repairing fender piles; replacing some wooden decking; and improving the stair tower, gangways and forklift ramp to make getting on and off a ship easier, said Jim O’Brien, the shipyard’s director of facilities.
In addition, the yard will upgrade electrical and mechanical systems to make sure they’re up to the big demands of the Navy’s newest carrier when the
The work should be completed this summer.
The Big E, meanwhile, was moved this month to the yard’s
The old Enterprise has been at the yard since 2017 and seems set to stay there for a while, even as shipbuilders work on the newest carrier to bear the name, which will be the third
The challenge with dismantling the ship is low-level radiation that could be released once the compartments that contained the reactors are cut to pieces.
Two alternatives involve partially dismantling the carrier at a commercial yard and shipping the section or sections that contained the nuclear power plants to the
The fourth option is to dismantle the Big E at a commercial yard, but the Hanford site will not accept reactor compartments from a commercial facility.
It is too early to say which way the
The aim is to to see if the
The yard’s maintenance workload has grown in recent years, as top
At the same time, alternatives to doing the work at Puget Sound have become more feasible with the opening of new disposal sites for radioactive waste, and the growth of a commercial ship breaking industry and of businesses that can dismantle nuclear power plants, Randall said.
The impact statement will evaluate the economic and environmental costs of each option and with any public comment.