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Nuclear Navy Ships

Student Researchers: Stephanie Smith and Caitlin Morgan

Faculty Evaluator:

Most new large U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships would be required to be nuclear powered under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2009.  Expanding the use of nuclear technology as a form of propulsion puts our sailors at risk.  The vessels’ position in combat can…vary from a ‘stand-off’ over-the-horizon location to be being moored to a pier in a combat zone.  “Shifting” amphibious assault ships to using nuclear power might make them potentially less welcome in the ports of countries with strong anti-nuclear sentiments and reduce the number of potentially suitable location for forward-homeporting the ships, undermining the ability to actually use them.  Another issue involves nuclear proliferation.  Military reactor fuel can reach 90 percent enrichment level.  That is atomic bomb-grade.  This could make reactor maintenance sites at U.S. bases in ports around the world a tempting target for any thief intent on making weapons-grade fuel for a bomb.  A U.S. Navy website confirms that such ships are designed to get in harm’s way.  If one of these amphibious ships is hit, or has an accident, we would be fighting a tide of radioactivity on beaches that could leave them contaminated indefinitely.

“Nuclear-Powered Amphibious Assault Ships?” Karl Grossman, CounterPunch 7/30/08                                          http://www.counterpunch.org/grossman07302008.html
Read more: http://mediafreedom.pnn.com/13160-validated-independent-news##ixzz0RQAk54Md

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