The Navy alerted an atomic submarine to prepare to supply its nuclear power for the island of Kauai, still without electricity three days after Hurricane Iwa ripped through Hawaii at an estimated cost of $200 million in damages.
"There are a number of technical problems which will have to be answered before we know if it can work, but we are willing to do it if it is possible," said Lt. Cmdr. Terry Forrester, spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Pacific.
Navy divers and experts met in Kauai to see if it is possible to tie up the nuclear powered submarine Indianapolis at the island's Nawiliwili Harbor. The submarine could provide 1,500 kilowatts of power for the island's biggest town, Lihue, the Navy said.
The vessel's nuclear powered electricity generators would be linked by transmission lines running ashore to the Kauai Electric Co. grid.
"Navy ships have done this before," Forrester said. "I don't know if it's been done with a submarine before, but we determined that no surface vessels are available which could supply as much power as they requested."
Repair crews were flown in from other islands to help restore power on Kauai, the hardest hit when Iwa roared through with 110-mph winds Tuesday night, also striking the islands Niihau and Oahu and leaving one seaman dead.
On Oahu, where the state's main city of Honolulu is located, about 1,000 residents in one hurricane-battered area may not have full electrical power for a month, said a spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Co.