Navy nuclear supply barge arrives in Mobile for scrapping
A new gigantic luminaire arrived Tuesday on the horizon of the port of Mobile: a support barge for the surface ships of the US Navy which made its last stop.
The barge was used for dockside refueling of nuclear powered ships and for dismantling spent nuclear fuel components. It was deemed obsolete and in 2020 APTIM Federal Services LLC was awarded a contract for the task of dismantling it, which will be performed at the site of partner Alabama Shipyard. APTIM describes the work as a three-year, $ 129 million project.
According to information released by the Navy in 2018, there is no nuclear fuel on board the barge and efforts to reduce residual contamination have been underway since at least 2004. According to APTIM, the process will remove “all hazardous and radiological materials after proper disposal. regulations. The majority of project waste will be disposed of at Waste Control Specialists’ facilities in Andrews, Texas.
“This dismantling and disposal of the SSSB represents an important step in NAVSEA’s campaign to reduce, in the most cost-effective and safe manner, idle nuclear reactors in ships and onshore facilities,” said Alan Weakley, chairman of the APTIM business unit overseeing the SSSB layout. NAVSEA is a reference to the Naval Sea Systems Command of the Navy.
“APTIM is proud of our contribution to the safe and efficient disposal of this once strategic asset,” said Weakley. “We are also proud of our partnership with Alabama Shipyard and their impressive safety record. “
APTIM said the project will use “proven programs and controls to prevent releases to the environment. These include the use of containment and containment systems, environmental monitoring, on-site regulatory oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), financial assurances for project completion with a performance bond. , liability insurance and pollution liability insurance, and proactive and transparent communications with the community. “
“The SSSB brings an exciting opportunity to the economy of the City of Mobile by paving the way for tremendous job growth now and through future work in the dismantling of Navy ships with highly qualified personnel,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson, quoted in a statement from APTIM. Release. “APTIM has an exceptional track record, and I look forward to seeing their continued success and the positive impact this project will have on our workforce in Mobile. “
The barge was delivered to the Alabama shipyard on Tuesday after a 13-day towing aboard a “heavy vessel” from the Newport News shipyard in Virginia. According to information from the US Navy, it began life as an oil tanker and was converted to nuclear use in 1964. It is approximately 268 feet long, displaces 4,813 tons long, and has a main deck “approximately. 41 “above baseline with a clean hatched house. approximately 109 ′ above the baseline.
Since efforts to contract out the work began, there has been speculation that the process used to dismantle the SSSB could serve as a partial model for the future failure of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, deactivated in 2012 and decommissioned in 2017. would have been seen as a potential site for this project, which is expected to cost over $ 1 billion.