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Sailors running nuclear reactors were first to catch coronavirus on aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt via Business Insider

Ryan Pickrell Apr 12, 2020, 9:29 PM

The first US Navy sailors to fall ill aboard the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were those running the nuclear reactors, The New York Times reported Sunday evening.

The Navy first announced that three crew members aboard the aircraft carrier had tested positive for the coronavirus on March 24, and that initial outbreak reportedly started in the reactor department.

The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has two nuclear reactors on board that serve as the heart of the ship and are responsible for providing power to the ship’s critical systems. Specifically, the reactors serve as the primary energy source for electrical and propulsion systems.

While details are limited, an outbreak among the reactor crew could easily be considered a worst-case scenario, as losses in the reactor department could put the ship out of commission because it would fail to have the required number of technicians or operators to safely run both reactors at sea.


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