Alternative scenario: UK went with Nuclear propulsion for CVF/QE Class

helmutkohl

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What if the UK opted to go for nuclear propulsion for its CVF/QE class carriers?

its often said that they went against it due to
- nuclear engineers being busy with the submarine construction
- being spooked by the Charles De Gaulle experiences

so
1. In what scenario could the UK practically build a carrier using nuclear propulsion?
2. Would it change the design of the ship? its complement?
3. In hindsight would it have been better?
 

CV12Hornet

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They'd need considerably more budget, for starters. Nuclear is expensive; I've seen estimates of a nuclear carrier being half again more expensive than a conventional carrier of similar capability. They'd also need a lot more reactor personnel, who are expensive in their own right.

Yes, it would lead to design changes. It would mean a very different propulsion layout; likely no split islands; and possibly catapults, as STOVL for cost savings makes a hell of a lot less sense when you're sinking this much money into the ships.

Would it have been better? Well, that depends on where you fall on the "two carriers versus one" argument. I personally think it's better for the RN to have two carriers even if they're less capable than the single nuclear ship, due to availability.
 

zen

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1. The obvious scenario is as a follow on from nuclear CVA-01 carriers built in the 70's.
1a. In light of AH Anglo-French CVN effort.
1b. Due to AH death of ASTOVL/JAST, refocus on CATOBAR CALF CV designs drives forward CVN. Possibly RAF gaining A12 Avenger as successor to Tornado.....

2. Yes and.....then again not as much as some suggest.

3. Yes and No and even more politically controversial than OTL.
 

helmutkohl

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Would it have been better? Well, that depends on where you fall on the "two carriers versus one" argument. I personally think it's better for the RN to have two carriers even if they're less capable than the single nuclear ship, due to availability.
this reminded me of CdG's issue.. would 2 conventional carriers would have been better than the 1 nuclear they went with
 

CV12Hornet

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Oof. Yeah, those construction and personnel problems pretty much scupper any chance of nuclear-powered carriers.
 

uk 75

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A Nimitz sized carrier with its full airgroup warrants nuclear power. But even the USN does not have nuclear powered LHA/LHD.
Any British carrier that can be afforded and crewed has to be closer to a US LHA/LHD in size than a Nimitz.
 

Hood

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I'd have to question what actual practical benefits would there be beyond switching to CTOL?
Plus you'd have to build some nuclear maintenance facilities at Devonport and that adds to the costs.

There are hints the PWR2 output has been throttled back by the available turbines for submarines, two PWR2 might be a little better than two K15 but probably not by much depending how big the CVFN gets.
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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I'm not entirely convinced of the case for carriers as is (I'm entirely content on the fence for that one). I'd certainly be loathe to make them more expensive and controversial. I have my doubts you could build them out of Rosyth if nuclear powered but won't go further because politics.
 

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