Part Two of Two parts (Please read Part One first)
Apparently NNS would like to do more of the work than requested by PSNS, even to the extent of doing the entire job of scrapping the Enterprise. There are over a thousand jobs at stake. And, as they point out, they did build the Enterprise in the first place. The parent company for NNS attended the May 2014 event and will probably submit a reply to the Naval RFI.
In response to the buildup of a backlog of conventionally powered aircraft carriers and other Naval vessels in need of demolition, NAVSEA recently awarded contracts to three different "shipbreaking" companies for two aircraft carriers and three other ships. As a matter of fact, a ship is currently being towed from Puget Sound to Brownsville, Texas where the demolitions are taking place. Two of the three shipbreaking companies attended the May 2014 event and have recently said that they continued to be interested in the Enterprise job.
A representative of one of the companies, All-Star Metals, says that the Navy needs to understand exactly what commercial firms can offer and have confidence in their ability to do the job needed on nuclear powered vessels. Of course, the ability to safely remove and transport nuclear fuel and radioactive components is a very import part of the Enterprise job and the Navy needs to know that commercial vendors are prepared for that task.
Even if the decommissioning of the nuclear propulsion system of the Enterprise is carried out at Bremerton, the Navy wants to get input from commercial firms about how they would go about removing parts of the Enterprise (as NNS proposes) and leaving just enough for the remains to be sufficiently seaworthy to make the trip to PSNS. This would reduce both the cost of towing and the amount of work that had to be done in Bremerton.
There has also been a discussion of how to take sufficient weight and width off the Enterprise so that it could be towed through the expanded Panama Canal which would seriously reduce the distance and cost of towing. The full width of the Enterprise is two hundred fifty feet and the old Canal locks could only handle one hundred and ten feet wide ships. If the carrier was cut down to the width of just the hull, it would be about one hundred thirty feet wide which would fit through the new expanded locks which will be one hundred eighty feet wide when completed.
The Navy has still given no indication of what they intend to do with the Enterprise. If the recycling contract were given to NNS in Virginia, their parent company has said that they might consider a partnership with one of the three shipbreaking companies to have the work done in Brownsville, Texas. Given their backlog of nuclear decommissioning jobs, it does not appear that PSNS would miss the Enterprise contract all that much.