Navy to host industry day on Surface Ship Support Barge dismantlement

October 11, 2018 at 1:20 PM

The Navy on Nov. 6 will host an industry day in Washington to consider the disposal of a barge that could pave the way for the service's disposal of its first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) will convene industry for the event, which will focus on "the general scope of work, project phases, notional regulatory framework, transportation options, and characterization of radioactive and hazardous materials," the Oct. 10 notice reads.

The conversation comes as the Navy weighs options for disassembling and disposing both the Surface Ship Support Barge (SSSB) and Enterprise (CVN-65), the nation’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Inside the Navy previously reported that a regulatory agreement between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Naval Reactors regarding the SSSB disposal could be used as a blueprint for the Enterprise.

Both the NRC and NAVSEA officials will appear at the industry day, which follows a Navy request for information posted in August about how the service could dispose of the SSSB.

The Navy previously utilized the barge for dockside refueling and "to disassemble spent nuclear fuel for shipment," according to the August RFI.

Adm. James Caldwell, the director of the naval nuclear propulsion program, earlier this month said the Navy is likely to use some of the information it gleans from the SSSB disposal for the Enterprise, but the barge method is not necessarily a blueprint for the larger vessel.

"It's a much smaller project than something as enormous as the Enterprise. So we're undertaking that to learn about affordable, cost-effective ways to approach that," Caldwell said of the SSSB.

"And I won’t go as far as to say that it's a blueprint for an Enterprise disposal, but we're going to learn some things that potentially could inform the way that we approach the enterprise disposal," he added.