Scrapping the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier could cost the Navy as much as $1.5 billion and take more than a decade to complete, according to the Government Accountability Office.
But the final price tag and the future timetable for dismantling the decommissioned Enterprise ultimately will depend on whether the Navy can contract with a private shipyard to finish the job or make its Puget Sound Naval Shipyard do the work.
The private sector option would be cheaper and faster, but the project is tangled in bureaucratic red tape, the federal watchdog agency warned in a report released on Thursday.
That’s mostly due to squabbling between the Navy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over which agency can legally oversee the dismantling project if it’s handed over to a commercial shipyard.
By law, Naval Reactors is the Navy department handling all the service’s nuclear propulsion programs while the NRC oversees civilian nuclear reactors, materials and waste disposal.