Public Health and Safety


The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is dedicated to maintaining its strong safety record.

Program principles include:

  • Personal responsibility.
  • Technical knowledge.
  • Rigorous training.
  • Safety.
  • Environmental stewardship.
  • Emergency preparedness.
  • Outreach and consultation with the public and with federal, state, local, and tribal partners.

The health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment are of utmost importance to the Navy. The Navy will analyze the potential effects of the alternatives on public health and safety and the environment, and document the findings in the EIS/OEIS.

The U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program maintains an outstanding record of over 167 million miles safely steamed on nuclear power. A leader in environmental protection, the Program has published annual environmental reports since the 1960s, showing that the Program has not had an adverse effect of human health or on the quality of the environment. Because of the Program’s demonstrated reliability, U.S. nuclear-powered warships are welcomed in more than 150 ports of call in over 50 foreign countries and dependencies.

The Navy maintains its environmental responsibilities from nuclear-powered warship design to ultimate disposal. To date, the Program has safely disposed of 135 reactor compartments from 126 ships.

The Program’s procedures for protection of people and the environment meet or exceed all applicable federal, state, and local environmental health and safety laws and regulations. The Program remains committed to this high standard. 

To provide perspective on the ex-Enterprise disposal work that will require handling and processing of radioactivity, the nuclear fuel has already been removed from the ship’s eight reactor plants. This defueling work removed over 99% of the radioactivity from the ship. The small amount of radioactivity that remains in the ship is comprised of the rugged metal structure of the reactor plants and metal corrosion and wear products resident within piping systems. The Navy and commercial nuclear industry have decades of experience demonstrating safe and environmentally sound handling and disposal of such low-level radioactivity.