Morale: Nuclear Bureaucrats Stifle Sailors In South Africa


September 2,2008:  The U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier, "Theodore Roosevelt" will be rounding the Cape of Good Hope in early October. Seeing an opportunity, the U.S. asked South Africa for permission to make a port call at Cape Town, to give the crew some shore leave. This process would leave behind several million dollars, as the sailors like to party, and buy local products as gifts for the folks back home.

There is a problem, however. South Africa has a 1999 law, the National Nuclear Regulator Act, which mandates that any nuclear powered ship visiting a South African port must get a license to do so. The application process is complex, requiring safety reports, environmental impact studies and some time for public comment. The U.S. Navy first encountered this law in 2005, when the USS Harry S Truman sought to make a port call. But the paperwork could not be finished in time, and the Truman passed by without stopping. This infuriated local businessmen, and anyone connected with the tourist industry in Cape Town. Now another possible visit has been announced, and the South African bureaucrats vow to get all the paperwork done in time.

There's only so much advance warning the U.S. Navy can give, since carrier operations are not planned that far in advance, and are always subject to change depending on military and political events elsewhere.



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