A4W reactor

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The A4W reactor is a naval reactor used by the United States Navy to propel warships and generate onboard electricity.

The A4W designation stands for:

  • A = Aircraft carrier platform
  • 4 = Contractor's fourth core design generation
  • W = Westinghouse, the contracted designer


These nuclear fission pressurized water reactors (PWRs) were jointly designed by Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory[1] and built by Westinghouse Electric Company. Their reactor cores are expected to operate for about 25 years before refueling is required.[1] The only ships to use these nuclear reactors are the Nimitz-class supercarriers, which have two reactors rated at 550 MWth each. These generate enough steam to produce approximately 100 MW of electricity, plus 140,000 shaft horsepower (104 MW) for each of the ship's four shafts – two per propulsion plant.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A4W". US Navy Propulsion Systems. Federation of American Scientists. 1999-02-27. Archived from the original on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-16. current cores for the NIMITZ Class aircraft carrier ... last on average about 20 years CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "US Navy Propulsion Systems". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 9 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-16. power per reactor ... 140,000 shp CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

  • [1] (correcting for the power output from 500 megawatts to 105.)