QE Class Carriers

...in terms of the carriers budget, and through life costs, nuclear watchkeepers are a tiny insignificant proportion of through life costs, even if we had to bribe them with silly wages.
There's no point offering to pay silly wages to non-existant people.

...its not just the cost of fuel. Think about its endurance, speed, range etc. A nuclear powerplant solves many of them both in terms of propulsion as well as powering ships systems. Could you imagine having to do a RAS in that massive carrier for fuel?? would be impractical and would mean we are dependant on either continually topping up tanks with regular RASing or dependant on having to fuel up regularly on deployment at prices we cant control. Fuel is a major consideration in planning on an FF/DD and the current carriers let alone something as big as the QE. IMO going non-nuclear is a compromise too far.
There's no point in having endurance, speed, range etc that is mismatched with your escorts, as you kinda need them with you. I suspect that you are also being overly pessimistic regarding the fuel usage of the QEs vs the Invincibles.

im sure it would be physically possible but cost effective to change the design it probably is not.
There would be so many changes required that it would, in my opinion, require a complete internal redesign, such that it would be easier to design and build a new one from scratch.


Lantern Swinger

Nuclear Carriers are great IF you have the resources to go with them.

The French made a hash of CdG - they used, essentially, multiple submarine reactors which caused problems with weight distribution and shielding. She is also underpowered (cannot make designed speed) and a nuclear refit will be very long and very expensive.

The US carriers are much better designed with few well designed reactors - the latest supposedly have full life cores. However, for long-distant deployments they still need replenishment ships (either with them - hence negating their speed advantage) or pre-positioned meaning they either need to have vast numbers of auxiliaries floating around waiting or they need luck. Once on station, IF they want to do continuous hign intensity operations they will run out of jet fuel within a few days - so again replenishment ships (and escorts) are needed. All these things are possible with the USN's size and number of operational carriers, they would not be practicable with a single operational carrier and limited numbers of specialised replenishment ships.

The UK has historically under-estimated the through life costs of both its civil and military nuclear programmes (including both official lying * and official cock-ups over calculations - even the latest civil programme has possible problems ** ). No one seriously believes the USA's quoted costs for their nuclear programmes - but no one knows what the "real" figures are.

Nuclear power was looked at when the carriers were being designed and for their proposed roles it was seen as totally uneconomic.


* - I was (and theoretically still am) a great supporter of civil nuclear power, but in the early 90s the lies and mistakes in monetary calculations and contingencies surrounding the civil programme became public, thus showing that the whole industry up til that time whilst good from a safety and risk-reduction in supply sources was a financial disaster.

** - that well known "unreliable" source, Private Eye, has noted that the agreement covering the safe disposal costs of the new proposed civil reactors whilst sounding as if the operators will cover ALL costs of decommissioning actually has a sentence in that means that any increase in the amount budgeted for has to agreed to by both the Government AND operators, and if they don't agree to the increase, who is to cover those increased costs ?

I wonder if the MOD has looked at the Thorium type of reactor. The chinese are looking at building these thorium-based molten salt reactor systems as their scientists have pointed out that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium.
On a sidenote the FSU operate 1 x nuclear powered surface ship with relative ease, it's not a carrier either. That's not including their numerous nuclear powered ice-breakers.

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