It cost the American taxpayers $451 million (about $3.5 billion in today's dollars) to build the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) back in 1958. Now, it's going to cost us another $745 million to take it apart.

On Friday, defense contractor Huntington Ingalls (NYSE:HII) announced it has been awarded the contract to "inactivate" the Enterprise, now docked with the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division. Over the next three years, Huntington will remove the nuclear fuel rods from the Enterprise's eight reactors, in preparation for towing the ship to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for further work on taking it apart.

The Enterprise was America's longest-serving nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, putting in 51 years of service to the nation since first launching in September 1960. She was the first nuclear-powered carrier ever built -- anywhere -- and the only one of her class.

Now, the USS Enterprise will also become the first American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be inactivated.