There is just so much information out there that even someone as focused on a particular topic as I am sometimes misses something really interesting.
On 20 April, 2006, Military.com published an article by Suzanne Yohannan titled DoD Broadens Energy Efficiency Focus. It provides some interesting figures and includes a thought provoking position advanced by Rep Roscoe Bartlett (one of the very few scientists in the Congress).
Meanwhile, Bartlett, who chairs the House Armed Services projection forces subcommittee, is urging Navy officials to consider moving toward an all-nuclear Navy as a way to address rising oil prices and foreign oil dependence.
Surprisingly enough, I agree that it is time to reevaluate the reasons why the US government abandoned the all nuclear navy project that was in place during the 1970s and to determine if there have been enough changes in technology and economics to justify trying again.
The refined designs available at Naval Reactors today are more capable and cost effective than those that were installed in ships like Bainbridge, Long Beach and South Carolina, and the cost of the competitive fuel source has significantly increased in recent years.
With a true life cycle costing approach, the economics seem to now favor nuclear power. The capability advantage of operating without needing new fuel or even needing to pay much attention to fuel consumption is HUGE. As John Paul Jones said hundreds of years ago – “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.” When you have uranium in your tank, you can go as fast as you want as long as you want.