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Navy Investigating Nuclear School Staff Cheating Ring

Naval Nuclear Power Training Command at Goose Creek, S.C.

Naval Nuclear Power Training Command at Goose Creek, S.C.

Senior enlisted instructors at the Navy’s nuclear reactor schoolhouse have been implicated in a “staff-to-staff” cheating ring that allegedly offered portions of written qualification test for instructors, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and head of Naval Reactors Adm. John Richardson told reporters at a Tuesday news conference.

“This incident took place in our school,” Greenert said.
“This incident involves members of the school’s staff.”

The implicated sailors were trading answers to other instructors that needed to re-qualify on two training reactors, which are part of the Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS), in nearby Goose Creek, S.C. used to train the service’s 16,000 nuclear personnel who operate the reactors on the service’s submarines and aircraft carriers.

Richardson was reluctant to give numbers to the ring but indicated that early indications show there are less than 20 members of the school’s staff that are involved.

Those who have been implicated have been removed from the school and had their security clearances suspended pending the results of the investigation. The reactors — located on two decommissioned submarines in Charleston, S.C. — have been taken offline for maintenance and will remain down until the scope of the cheating has been determined.

“All personnel implicated have been removed from the site,” Richardson said.

A sailor at the school went to authorities after he was offered some portions of the written tests first reported the ring on Monday.

The exam was for one of 11 positions the navy tests for to oversee the reactors on submarines and aircraft carriers.

Nuclear reactor sailors have to qualify via a written test, an oral examination and a hands-on evaluation.

Richardson said there was no evidence that any of the other testing methods had been compromised.

The Navy has suffered minor scandals for ongoing qualifications onboard ships — most recently in 2010 aboard USS Memphis (SSN-691) — but this is the first in recent memory that encompasses the heart of the Navy’s nuclear training program.

The reactor schoolhouse is not connected to separate specialties that maintain nuclear weapons.

The Navy’s announcement follows the U.S. Air Force’s own cheating woes for officers responsible for maintaining that service’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

  • Marcd30319

    Admiral Hyman Rickover must be spinning in his grave!

    • Former 3364

      The KOG is spinning at 3600 RPM and ready for electrical loading. What a bunch of idiots.

  • 02144pomroy

    The Armed Forces are just a reflection of the people it serves……we’re doomed.

  • RobM1981

    It sounds as if it’s being addressed appropriately. Good. That’s what the citizens demand, and I hope that the Navy’s leadership does, too.. There is no room for anything but integrity here.


    To seek out and accept responsibility;to persevere;to be committed to excellence;to be creative and courageous;to be unrelenting in the pursuit of intellectual development to maintain high standard of ethics and morality;which must be met to achieve meaning and purpose to life. H.G. Rickover Admiral USN

  • INtheKNOW

    Nothing to see here move along folks. This was going on in the 90s when I was in. It was going on before then, since then, and will continue in the future as soon as this gets swept under the rug. Its systemic and is not a case of a few bad apples. It is SOP and involves officers and higher enlisted members. Every so often some naive fool blows the whistle on them and the brass offers up some scapegoats and bloviates about integrity. Honor, Courage, Commitment…The NAVY way.

    • MM1(SS)

      Thank you for saying what those of us not in denial are thinking. If you’ve been in the Navy Nuclear Power Program long enough, we’ve all seen some instance of these things before. It’s a big deal because it has the word nuclear attached to it. Honestly, after years of taking these typically poorly written exams onboard and in the pipeline, the last thing a person wants to do is continue to take them at a place that’s masquerading as a shore duty. I do not condone the actions of these sailors by any means, but I understand how easy it would be to get caught up in such actions. It’s human nature, but as Nukes we are held to higher standards and should act accordingly…it’s just the way it is and the way it must be.