2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 Feb 2005 07:26:52 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Two "ghost ship" articles
Floating reactor's fate unsure

The Army is studying what to do with the defunct nuclear power plant
sitting on the James River. Disposing of it will cost millions.

Hampton Roads Daily Press (VA)
February 13, 2005

FORT EUSTIS -- The sign on a metal hatch in front of Ray Moses said
"Caution Radiation."

Moses, an electrician with the Maritime Administration, unlatched
several locks on a recent morning, broke through a plastic seal on the
door and led several visitors inside.

Around a dark corridor was the refueling deck of a defunct nuclear
reactor that sits on the James River. A large, egg-shaped containment
vessel holds the old reactor. Contaminated metal and debris are sealed
inside a nearby tank. Steel and concrete encase the entire area.

No, this is not Surry Power Station. Nor is it the Savannah, the world's
first commercial nuclear-powered ship, which now languishes amid rusty
vessels in the federal government's James River Reserve Fleet.

This is the Sturgis, a 440-foot-long World War II Liberty ship that the
Army converted into a floating nuclear power plant in 1966. It provided
power to the Panama Canal until 1976, when the Army decided to return
the barge to the United States because of political unrest in Central
America, said Hans Honerlah, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers.


For the entire article, see


Money lacking for ship disposal

Congress has ordered all obsolete ships on the James River removed by
next year, but few expect to meet the deadline.

Hampton Roads Daily Press (VA)
February 13, 2005

WASHINGTON -- With little time and money, the Maritime Administration is
scrambling to dispose of 121 obsolete ships by next year, including 44
that continue to rust on the James River.

As the Sept. 30, 2006, disposal deadline set by Congress grows closer,
the federal agency appears increasingly unable to handle the backlog of
so-called "ghost" ships that are contaminated with asbestos and toxic
polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

The White House has proposed spending $21 million next year on ship
disposal - the same amount as this year.

When combined with unspent funds from the current year, the maritime
agency would have $36 million for the final year of the ship-disposal
mandate - an amount that appears to fall far short of what would be
needed to meet the congressional deadline.

Over the last two fiscal years, disposal has cost roughly $1 million per
ship, according to agency figures. While some ships could cost far less,
depending on their size and condition, the contracts issued so far
suggest the agency could need upward of $80 million in additional
funding to complete the job next year.


FOr the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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