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 watch standing 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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