westlake writes "The AP is reporting that the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Enterprise, is to be retired after fifty years of active service — the longest of any warship in U.S. naval history. Its final deployment will take it to the Middle East and last for seven months. The big ship has become notoriously difficult to keep in repair. As an old ship and the only one in its class, breakdowns have become frequent and replacement parts often have to be custom made. Despite its place in naval history and popular culture, Enterprise will meet its end at the scrap yard rather than being preserved at a museum. This is expected to happen in 2015, after the nuclear fuel has been removed."