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Document: Report to Congress on Coast Guard Icebreaker Program

The following is the June 1, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress.


via fas.org

  • Curtis Conway

    A multi-program approach to Hull, Machinery, and Equipment design could save additional treasure over time. A nuclear propulsion system, and electrical power distribution system for the Icebreakers could be be easily be used to support a new Cruiser Replacement program. The Cruiser would need a hull mounted sonar, and sea keeping capability which dictates a different hull. the nuke plant can be common with the CVN or SSN/SSBN Programs.

    • DaSaint

      Curtis, there’s no way they’re building a nuclear icebreaker, no matter how much sense it makes long-term. First of all who would build it? NNS? They wouldn’t sacrifice yard space nor personnel vs carrier or submarine construction.GD? Not Electric Boat. Would GD’s NASSCO be trusted with installing a nuclear propulsion system for the first time? Don’t know.

      • Stephen

        It also goes back to the reason all nuke CGs were taken out of service. USS Cole. Blowing a hole in a CGN would have been catastrophic! A lightly armed Ice Breaker might be too alluring…

        • John King

          As I recall, part of the decision to take the nuke cruisers out of commission was their average $50 million a year operating costs versus $30 million for a conventional-powered one.

          • DaSaint

            Plus the refueling costs. With modern technology now, they don’t plan on refueling. It’s a one shot deal. Cradle to the grave.

          • Stephen

            No refueling required was, and is, a NavSea 08 goal.

        • DaSaint

          Well, arguably, that goes for any nuke powered surface ship or submarine, no?

        • Curtis Conway

          Who said they would be ‘lightly armed’? Single hull? Go to YOUTUBE and watch the shipyards build an icebreaker. The bomb that went off next to the USS Cole (DDG-67) MIGHT put a hole in it, and it would mar the paint.

          1st, who said the new CGN (or Icebreakers) would be single hulled constructs?
          2nd, nuclear power has come a long way. Solutions for that plant are multiple, and readily available with established supply trains, technical training schools, and operational capabilities.
          3rd, our new DEWs and EMRGs will require a lot of power, particularly in the future, as new technology and development are folded into the designs of that future.

          Had the USS Cole (DDG-67) had a hull built to a new multiple hull standard, or one with with thicker Armour belt, perhaps that trail would have been somewhat different.

      • Curtis Conway

        I’ve often wondered why Bremerton can’t build, as well as beak. Don’t think Long Beach would ever join that kind of activity based upon its location. Pascagoula could stand up the capability, but where ever a new nuclear qualified yard would happen, it would take a huge plan and some time. With the projected growth of the SSN/CVN fleet, and perhaps the need for more nuclear platforms (Icebreakers/Cruisers), another yard is required. With this administration in power, NOW would be the time to make that decision, decide on the location, and develop the plan. The community would have to want to support this activity.

        • Secundius

          From 1891 to 1988, Bremerton DID!/? But the EPA and OSHA “Binnacle’d” the Shipbuilding assets because of “Asbestos” exposure…

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, if Bremerton wanted to increase its future growth and financial possibilities, then this might be a good place to start, but Washington State, and the local community would have have to support the effort long term. Local schools supporting that specific jobs market, infrastructure improvements for that future larger population, and upgrading the local security apparatus. It would be easier than just standing up a new nuke building capability somewhere where such things do not yet exist. Maritime communities don’t grow on trees, they grow on coasts.

          • Secundius

            Though Bremerton has some of the Highest Paying Jobs in Shipyards. The Trade-Off for those Higher Paying Jobs is the “Asbestos” which Literally “Impermeate” Everything. Including the Ground your Walking On. It would take a Tactical Nuke just to Vaporize to the Asbestos Saturation of the Affected Area…

          • Curtis Conway

            So . . . from your perspective, there is no ‘second nuke yard’ solution?

          • Secundius

            No?/! From MY Prospective is the “Health Hazard” at Working at such a Shipyard!/? Might as well work in one of the “Irradiated” Baltic Sea Yards in the Russian Federation…

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, I accompanied my two cruisers into no less that 5 major US shipyards, which I am sure have asbestos in them too. Helped rebuild a refinery, stomping the dirt for several months, and I’m still walking around. Perhaps the typical method (encapsulation) could be a possible solution for the shipyard proper. Scrape it off and combine it with concrete. Cover the rest. Time will erode some of it into the environment. Industrial hygienist can conduct tests to reveal the exposure. Real-time monitoring is also possible. There are solutions.

            Where ever the investment is to be made (should that happen and it should) the state and community would have to ‘buy in’ in healthcare and everything else in a full package deal.

          • Secundius

            I worked with “Asbestos” before, having to Shower in a Hazmat PDS (Portable Decon Shower) Drop Box, before going home. Either that, or Infecting those at Home too…

  • DaSaint

    5 Shipyards have study contracts: Bollinger, Fincantieri (w/Philly Shipyard+VARD), General Dynamics NASCCO (w/VARD), HHI, and VT Halter Marine. When the RFP is issued, I can see all bidding, but I can’t see Bollinger as a serious candidate for a Heavy Icebreaker, nor for that matter VT Halter Marine. The entities with VARD as a partner, plus HHI’s experience with the Healy make them the favorites as finalists, and no one would be surprised with either HII or NASSCO being selected as the winner. One will probably get the Heavy Icebreaker, the other the Medium Icebreaker.

  • Secundius

    Australia is Building a “Jack-of-All-Trades” Icebreaker to be operational by 2019. Displacing ~23,800-tonnes and ~156-meters in length, that can also be used as a Science Vessel and a Container Ship with up to 96 TEU’s (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)…