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The Ship/Submarine Recycling Program (SRP) is the process the United States Navy uses to dispose of decommissioned nuclear vessels. SRP takes place only at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington, but the preparations can begin elsewhere.

Contents

SRP

In this image, the superstructure of Virginia has been replaced with containment structures to remove nuclear fuel before entering SRP.

Before SRP can begin, the ship or submarine must have her nuclear fuel removed. Defueling usually coincides with decommissioning. Prior to that event, the vessel is referred to as "USS Name," but afterward the "USS" is dropped and it is referred to as "ex-Name." Defueling of submarines is carried out at five ship repair facilities on the West Coast, and the hulks are then towed to PSNS. Reusable equipment is removed at the same time as the fuel.

Spent nuclear fuel is shipped by rail to the Naval Reactor Facility in the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), located 67 kilometers (42 miles) northwest of Idaho Falls, Idaho, where it is stored. The fuel is reprocessed.

At PSNS the SRP proper begins. A submarine is cut into three or four pieces: the aft section, the reactor compartment, the missile compartment if one exists, and the forward section. Missile compartments are dismantled according to the provisions of the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty. Reactor compartments are sealed at both ends and shipped by barge and multiple-wheel high-capacity trailers to the Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state where they are slated to be buried. Related photographs:

  1. See photo here of 71 such reactor compartments in open-air storage.
  2. Demonstrating the rapid growth in submarine recycling, see photo here showing 114 reactor compartments in open-air storage.

The burial trenches have been evaluated to be secure for at least 600 years before the first pinhole penetration of some lead containment areas of the reactor compartment packages occurs, and several thousand years before leakage becomes possible.

Until 1991, the forward and aft sections of the submarines were rejoined and placed in floating storage. Various proposals for disposal of those hulks were considered, including sinking them at sea, but none were economically practical. All required removal of the numerous polychlorinated biphenyl products (PCBs) on board, which are considered hazardous materials by the Environmental Protection Agency and United States Coast Guard. In order to reduce the costs, the remaining submarine sections are recycled, returning reusable materials to production. In the process of submarine recycling, all hazardous and toxic wastes are identified and removed, reusable equipment is removed and put into inventory. Scrap metals and all other materials are sold to private companies or reused. The overall process is not profitable, but does provide some cost relief. Disposal of submarines by the SRP costs the US$25-50 million per submarine.

By the end of 2005, 195 nuclear submarines had been ordered or built in the US (including the NR-1 Deep Submergence Craft and Virginia, but none of the later Virginias). The last of the regular Sturgeon attack boats, L. Mendel Rivers was decommissioned in 2001, and Parche, a highly-modified Sturgeon, was decommissioned in 2004. The last of the "41 for Freedom", Kamehameha was decommissioned in 2002. Decommissioning of the Los Angeles boats began in 1995 with Baton Rouge. Additionally, a handful of nuclear powered cruisers have entered the program, and their dismantling is ongoing. The United States operates nuclear powered aircraft carriers, but as of 2008 no nuclear powered carrier has been decommissioned. Hulks waiting or already processed by the recycling program include:

Cruisers

Ship Name (Hull Number) Start Date Completion Date
ex-Long Beach (CGN-9) 1 May 2009[1] Not started
ex-Bainbridge (CGN/DLGN-25) 1 October 1997 30 October 1999
ex-Truxtun (CGN/DLGN-35) 1 October 1997 28 April 1999
ex-California (CGN/DLGN-36) 1 October 1998 12 May 2000
ex-South Carolina (CGN/DLGN-37) 1 October 2007[2] Ongoing
ex-Virginia (CGN-38) 1 October 1999 25 September 2002
ex-Texas (CGN-39) 1 October 1999 30 October 2001
ex-Mississippi (CGN-40) 1 October 2004[1] Ongoing[1]
ex-Arkansas (CGN-41) Unknown 1 November 1999

Attack Submarines

Note that some of these submarines (the George Washington class) were fleet ballistic missile boats for the vast majority of their careers. However, they were briefly converted to SSNs before decommissioning and arrival at PSNS, and so are listed under that designation here.

Ship Name (Hull Number) Start Date Completion Date
ex-Seawolf (SSN-575) 1 October 1996 30 September 1997
ex-Skate (SSN-578) 14 April 1994 6 March 1995
ex-Swordfish (SSN-579) Unknown 11 September 1995
ex-Sargo (SSN-583) 14 April 1994 5 April 1995
ex-Seadragon (SSN-584) 1 October 1994 18 September 1995
ex-Skipjack (SSN-585) 17 March 1996 1 September 1998
ex-Triton (SSN-586) 1 October 2007[1] Ongoing
ex-Halibut (SSN-587) 12 July 1993 9 September 1994
ex-Scamp (SSN-588) 1990 9 September 1994 (the first)
ex-Sculpin (SSN-590) 1 October 2000 30 October 2001
ex-Shark (SSN-591) 1 October 1995 28 June 1996
ex-Snook (SSN-592) 1 October 1996 30 June 1997
ex-Permit (SSN-594) 30 September 1991 20 May 1993
ex-Plunger (SSN-595) 5 January 1995 8 March 1996
ex-Barb (SSN-596) Unknown 14 March 1996
ex-Tullibee (SSN-597) 5 January 1995 1 April 1996
ex-George Washington (SSBN/SSN-598) Unknown 30 September 1998
ex-Patrick Henry (SSBN/SSN-599) 1 October 1996 31 August 1997
ex-Robert E. Lee (SSBN/SSN-601) Unknown 30 September 1991
ex-Pollack (SSN-603) 9 February 1993 17 February 1995
ex-Haddo (SSN-604) Unknown 30 June 1992
ex-Jack (SSN-605) Unknown 30 June 1992
ex-Tinosa (SSN-606) 15 July 1991 26 June 1992
ex-Dace (SSN-607) Unknown 1 January 1997
ex-Ethan Allen (SSBN/SSN-608) Unknown 30 July 1999
ex-Sam Houston (SSBN/SSN-609) 1 March 1991 3 February 1992
ex-Thomas A. Edison (SSBN/SSN-610) 1 October 1996 1 December 1997
ex-John Marshall (SSBN/SSN-611) 22 July 1992 29 March 1993
ex-Guardfish (SSN-612) Unknown 9 July 1992
ex-Flasher (SSN-613) Unknown 11 May 1994
ex-Greenling (SSN-614) 30 September 1993 18 April 1994
ex-Gato (SSN-615) Unknown 1 November 1996
ex-Haddock (SSN-621) 1 October 2000 1 October 2001
ex-Sturgeon (SSN-637) Unknown 11 December 1995 †
ex-Whale (SSN-638) 20 October 1995 1 July 1996
ex-Tautog (SSN-639) 15 March 2003[1] 30 September 2004[1]
ex-Kamehameha (SSBN/SSN-642) 1 October 2001 28 February 2003
ex-James K. Polk (SSBN/SSN-645) 16 February 1999 15 July 2000
ex-Grayling (SSN-646) 18 July 1997 31 March 1998
ex-Pogy (SSN-647) 4 January 1999 12 April 2000
ex-Aspro (SSN-648) 1 October 1999 3 November 2000
ex-Sunfish (SSN-649) Unknown 31 October 1997
ex-Pargo (SSN-650) 1 October 1994 15 October 1996
ex-Queenfish (SSN-651) 1 May 1992 7 April 1993
ex-Puffer (SSN-652) 20 October 1995 12 July 1996
ex-Ray (SSN-653) 15 March 2002 30 July 2003
ex-Sand Lance (SSN-660) 1 April 1998 30 August 1999
ex-Lapon (SSN-661) 15 March 2003[1] 30 November 2004[1]
ex-Gurnard (SSN-662) Unknown 15 October 1996
ex-Hammerhead (SSN-663) Unknown 22 November 1995
ex-Sea Devil (SSN-664) 1 March 1998 7 September 1999
ex-Guitarro (SSN-665) Unknown 18 October 1994
ex-Hawkbill (SSN-666) 1 October 1999 1 December 2000 †
ex-Bergall (SSN-667) Unknown 29 September 1997
ex-Spadefish (SSN-668) 1 October 1996 24 October 1997
ex-Seahorse (SSN-669) 1 March 1995 30 September 1996
ex-Finback (SSN-670) Unknown 30 October 1997
ex-Narwhal (SSN-671) 1 June 2015[2] (museum plans failed; see article)
ex-Pintado (SSN-672) 1 October 1997 27 October 1998
ex-Flying Fish (SSN-673) Unknown 15 October 1996
ex-Trepang (SSN-674) 4 January 1999 7 April 2000
ex-Bluefish (SSN-675) 15 March 2002 1 November 2003
ex-Billfish (SSN-676) Unknown 26 April 2000
ex-Drum (SSN-677) 1 December 2008[2] Not started
ex-Archerfish (SSN-678) Unknown 6 November 1998
ex-Silversides (SSN-679) 1 October 2000 1 October 2001
ex-William H. Bates (SSN-680) 1 October 2002 30 October 2002
ex-Batfish (SSN-681) Unknown 22 November 2002
ex-Tunny (SSN-682) 1 October 1997 27 October 1998
ex-Parche (SSN-683) 30 September 2004‡[1] 30 November 2006[2]
ex-Cavalla (SSN-684) 1 October 1999 16 November 2000
ex-Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685) Unknown 1 December 1997
ex-L. Mendel Rivers (SSN-686) 29 November 2000 19 July 2002
ex-Richard B. Russell (SSN-687) 1 October 2001 19 September 2002
ex-Los Angeles (SSN-688) 1 June 2018[2] Not started
ex-Baton Rouge (SSN-689) 13 January 1995 30 September 1997
ex-Philadelphia (SSN-690) 1 September 2019[2] Not started
ex-Memphis (SSN-691) 14 December 2010[1] Not started
ex-Omaha (SSN-692) 1 October 2009[2] Not started
ex-Cincinnati (SSN-693) 1 October 2009[2] Not started
ex-Groton (SSN-694) 1 June 2012[2] Not started
ex-Birmingham (SSN-695) 1 June 2012[2] Not started
ex-New York City (SSN-696) 1 June 2011[2] Not started
ex-Indianapolis (SSN-697) 1 October 2013[2] Not started
ex-Bremerton (SSN-698) 13 February 2014[2] Not started
ex-Jacksonville (SSN-699) 31 March 2014[2] Not started
ex-Dallas (SSN-700) 26 June 2014[2] Not started
ex-La Jolla (SSN-701) 30 September 2014[2] Not started
ex-Phoenix (SSN-702) 1 June 2013[2] Not started
ex-Boston (SSN-703) 1 October 2001 19 September 2002 †
ex-Baltimore (SSN-704) 1 June 2013[2] Not started
ex-City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705) 24 November 2015[2] Not started
ex-Albuquerque (SSN-706) 14 April 2016[2] Not started
ex-Portsmouth (SSN-707) 1 June 2015[2] Not started
ex-Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN-708) 1 June 2018[2] Not started
ex-Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709) 30 September 2016[2] Not started
ex-Augusta (SSN-710) 1 September 2019[2] Not started
ex-San Francisco (SSN-711) 1 November 2017[2] Not started
ex-Atlanta (SSN-712) 1 October 2013[2] Not started
ex-Houston (SSN-713) 21 September 2015[2] Not started
ex-Norfolk (SSN-714) 7 May 2016[2] Not started
ex-Salt Lake City (SSN-716) 30 September 2015[2] Not started
ex-Honolulu (SSN-718) 1 November 2006[2] Ongoing

† A dagger after a completion date indicates that portions of the hulk were preserved as memorials. See the individual articles for details.

‡ Date given for ex-Parche is official date used to secure FY2004 funding; work did not begin until 19 October.[1]

Ballistic Missile Submarines

Note that some of these submarines (the Lafayette class) were fleet ballistic missile boats for the vast majority of their careers. However, they were converted to SSNs for use as moored training platforms and are not currently scheduled for recycling.

Ship Name (Hull Number) Start Date Completion Date
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-598) n/a n/a
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-599) n/a n/a
ex-Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600) unknown 24 March 1995
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-601) n/a n/a
ex-Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602) unknown 5 May 1994
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-608) n/a n/a
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-609) n/a n/a
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-610) n/a n/a
See Attack Submarines - (SSBN/SSN-611) n/a n/a
ex-Lafayette (SSBN-616) 1 March 1991 25 February 1992
ex-Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617) 23 February 1993 28 February 1994
ex-Thomas Jefferson (SSBN-618) 1 October 1996 6 March 1998
ex-Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) unknown 30 August 1999
ex-John Adams (SSBN-620) unknown 12 February 1996
ex-James Monroe (SSBN-622) unknown 10 January 1995
ex-Nathan Hale (SSBN-623) 2 October 1991 5 April 1995
ex-Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624) 26 September 1997 27 October 1998
ex-Henry Clay (SSBN-625) unknown 30 September 1997
ex-Daniel Webster (MTS-626) refit (training vessel) n/a
ex-James Madison (SSBN-627) unknown 24 October 1997
ex-Tecumseh (SSBN-628) 15 February 1993 1 April 1994
ex-Daniel Boone (SSBN-629) unknown 4 November 1994
ex-John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) unknown 18 November 1994
ex-Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) unknown 23 October 1993
ex-Von Steuben (SSBN-632) 1 October 2000 30 October 2001
ex-Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633) unknown 21 October 1994
ex-Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634) unknown 13 October 1995
ex-Sam Rayburn (MTS-635) refit (training vessel) n/a
ex-Nathanael Greene (SSBN-636) 1 September 1998 20 October 2000
ex-Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640) unknown 21 August 1995
ex-Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641) 1 October 1994 1 December 1995
ex-George Bancroft (SSBN-643) unknown 30 March 1998
ex-Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644) 1 October 1995 23 September 1996
ex-George C. Marshall (SSBN-654) unknown 28 February 1994
ex-Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) unknown 12 August 1994
ex-George Washington Carver (SSBN-656) unknown 21 March 1994
ex-Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) unknown 1 September 1995
ex-Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) 1 October 1994 22 December 1995
ex-Will Rogers (SSBN-659) 12 April 1993 12 August 1994

Because the program is underway, this list is almost certainly incomplete.

Note for ships marked with refit: Sam Rayburn (SSBN-635) was converted into a training platform — Moored Training Ship (MTS-635). Sam Rayburn arrived for conversion on 1 February 1986, and on 29 July 1989 the first Moored Training Ship achieved initial criticality. Modifications included special mooring arrangements including a mechanism to absorb power generated by the main propulsion shaft. Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) was converted to the second Moored Training Ship (MTS-2 / MTS-626) in 1993. The Moored Training Ship Site is located at Naval Weapons Station Charleston in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Sam Rayburn is scheduled to operate as an MTS until 2014 while undergoing shipyard availabilities at four year intervals.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Morison, Samuel Loring (December 2006). "U.S. Naval Battle Force Changes". Proceedings of the Naval Institute 132 (12): 59–60. ISSN 0041-798X.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Morison, Samuel Loring (May 2007). "U.S. Naval Battle Force Changes". Proceedings of the Naval Institute 133 (5): 111. ISSN 0041-798X.  
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