NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — The USS Enterprise was hailed as one of the new wonders of the world when it first came along in 1961.

However, now in the 21 st Century, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is becoming something of a financial burden on the Navy and taxpayers, while the government evaluates dismantlement and disposal alternatives for the decommissioned warship.

At least $863 million has been spent on the Big E so far, and the Government Accountability Office reports it may take more than one and a half billion dollars to finish the job.

The GAO lays out two options for the former CVN-65.

If the work were done at a government-owned Naval shipyard, it would take 10 years starting in 2034, and cost $1.05 to $1.55 billion.

If the work were done at a private, commercial facility, it would take 5 years starting in 2024 and would cost $750 million to $1.4 billion.

Whatever happens with the Enterprise, the GAO states that it will set precedents for the processes, costs, and oversight that may be used to dismantle and dispose of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the future, such as the Nimitz-class carriers which the Navy will begin to retire in the mid-2020's.

House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman of Virginia's First District is weighing in.

In a statement to 13 News Now, Wittman calls the costs so far "horribly expensive and a waste of taxpayer dollars."

Wittman goes on to say, the "Navy should dispose the ex-Enterprise based on the most operationally efficient and least cost alternative."

To read the full GAO report click here.

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