Logistics: Go Nuclear Or Die

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October 22,2008:  The U.S. Navy is retiring its last non-nuclear carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk, and cutting its overall annual fuel bill by two percent. The Kitty Hawk used about thirty million gallons of fuel oil a year. That cost the navy about $64 million, at current prices (which are expected to keep going up sharply). This is why the U.S. recently decided to build future large warships with nuclear power.

Nuclear power on destroyers and cruisers also provides additional electrical power for new, energy intensive weapons, like the rail gun. Then there is the ability to move at high speed for extended periods, and the need for far fewer supply ships (most of which traditionally carry fuel.) In the past, the additional cost of a nuclear power plant (half a billion dollars or more) and the difficulty in recruiting the brainiacs needed to run the things, worked against nuclear power for anything but carriers and subs. But with the rising price of oil, and the falling price of nuke plants (due to new technology and decades of experience), it now makes economic sense to go nuclear, and eventually deploy all nuclear carrier task forces.

 

 


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