Refueling a nuclear carrier is a complex process that involves both refueling and a review. This process, known as ROH (Refueling and Overhaul), usually takes one to two years for submarines and up to almost three years for an aircraft carrier. The refueling of the USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, coincides with a ship overhaul that could take up to four years. Along with refueling, it will prove to be a multi-million dollar exercise.
The reactors aboard the George Washington contain enough nuclear fuel to fully power the ship and all its needs on board for approximately 20 years. Refueling the USS George Washington is a very costly task because the aircraft carrier is powered by two A4W nuclear reactors. The work, which would replace the nuclear fuel that powers the aircraft carrier's reactors, has been delayed by more than a year. Nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are expected to serve for half a century, but they require mid-life refueling to exchange worn reactor fuel rods.
This process is complex and expensive, but it is necessary in order to ensure that the aircraft carrier can continue to operate safely and efficiently. The refueling of a nuclear carrier is an intricate process that requires careful planning and execution. It involves both refueling and a review of the ship's systems, which can take up to four years. The cost of this process can be quite high, but it is necessary in order to ensure that the aircraft carrier can continue to operate safely and efficiently for many years to come.