The A1B reactor is a nuclear reactor being designed for use by the United States Navy to provide electricity generation and propulsion for the Gerald R. Ford–class aircraft carriers. It has been in development since 1998.
The A1B designation stands for:
- A = Aircraft carrier platform
- 1 = Contractor's first core design
- B = Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation is the contracted designer
Initial plans for the Gerald R. Ford–class carrier program include a two-reactor complex intended to replace the A4W reactor design used on the Nimitz-class carriers. The new A1B reactor plant is a smaller, more efficient design that provides approximately three times the electrical power of the Nimitz-class A4W reactor plant. The modernization of the plant led to a higher core energy density, lower demands for pumping power, a simpler construction, and the use of modern electronic controls and displays. These changes resulted in a two-thirds reduction of watchstanding requirements and a significant decrease of required maintenance. The ship is powered by two Bechtel A1B nuclear reactors, each capable of producing 300 megawatts of electricity, triple that of Nimitz-class reactors.
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