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USS Enterprise power would price Northern Pass out of existence

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Last week I wrote a letter floating the idea that we should modify the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and turn it into a commercial power generating station. A nutty idea perhaps and admittedly fraught with all kinds of political problems. However the problems with this are only political and not technical. I have spent my working career in the power plant industry, mostly nuclear, and this is what I believe can be done.
The "Big E" as her crew fondly calls her has eight Westinghouse A2W reactors, combined they can turn generators built on her 4.5 acre flight deck and produce as much power (if not more) than Seabrook, that is 1,200 meggawatts, and be up and running within 2-3 years. The cost of this project I estimate to be less than 10 percent of the $6 billion it cost to build Seabrook, and because these are military naval reactors they can run without refueling for many years. Add to this that no greenhouse gasses are produced and the cost of the power could be one cent per killowatt hour! Far cheaper than anything else. The Northern Pass project would be priced out of existence before it gets off the ground. She could be anchored off-shore, out-of-sight and provide some rate relief to the Northeast which has the highest cost of electricity in the country. Evacuation plan? No problem. In the extremely unlikely case of emergency tow her out to sea away from population centers and deal with it out there.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is how our elected officials think. The taxpayers paid to build the "The Big E". She performed her function beautiful as did those who served on her. But now that she can no longer fulfill that role, why on earth are we throwing her away like an old beer can? A 93,000 ton beer can. She can still perform useful and meaningful service far into the future.
Another idea is that she could be turned into a disaster relief vessel that can produce electrical power, thousands of gallons of fresh water, and her cavernous interior turned into a hospital and staging for supplies, etc.
At a time when we are all struggling to figure out how we are going to fund our government, and all it does, we need to think better. So the Big E can't be used as an instrument of war any more, wouldn't it be fitting to give her new life as an instrument of peace. But as it stands right now she is going to the scrap heap and be turned into the ultimate symbol of the throw away mentality of our society.
Gordon Blais