The United States first and only Nuclear powered merchant ship was designed in hopes of finding peaceful uses for Nuclear energy as part of the Atoms for Peace program. President Eisenhower had the ship built in the late 1950s at a cost of $46.9 million, which included a $28.3 million nuclear reactor and fuel core. At 596-feet-long she was the pride of the fleet with sleek lines like that of an oceangoing yacht. During her short 5 years of service (1965-1970) she saved over 29 million gallons of fuel oil but her high maintenance cost led to her downfall. In 1981, the Savannah was brought back to her cold war glory by re-activating her as a museum ship offering Americans a glimpse into the atomic age. Visitors could walk the ship’s decks and even tour the reactor from an observation window as well as look into staterooms and passenger areas but in 1994 the charter was terminated. The Maritime Administration, who is responsible for overseeing the Savannah, had the ship moved to Baltimore where she remains under a 3 year, $588,380 U.S. Maritime Administration contract with the Vane Brothers’ shipyard at the Canton Marine Terminal. Once the Savannah’s DDR (Decommissioning, Decontamination and Radiological) work is completed the U.S. Maritime Administration plans to eventually donate the famous maritime relic as a museum or public attraction.
- She produced nearly $12,000,000 in revenue, real money back then.
- She sailed over 450,000 miles in her five years of merchant service (1965 to 1970).
- She required a crew of more than 100 mariners.=
- The Army considered using her as a power plant to be used during national emergencies.
- She is being reconditioned primarily due to post 9/11 security concerns.
NS Savannah Documentary – Once Upon A Nuclear Ship
More videos and photos of the beautifully designed NS Savannah ship:
Nixon’s Moscow Mission; Nuclear Ship Comissioned 1959/7/23
2) NS Savannah nuclear ship commissioned, christened by Mamie before 15,000 spectators, cost $41 million (partial newsreel)
N/S Savannah Underway
A Look At Her Reactors
Photos Of Her Today
Other Nuclear Merchant Ships
Russia’s 1988 Nuclear Cargo ship and now drillship N/S Sevorput
Japan’s 1969 built N/S Mutsu
Russia has built a number of modern nuclear icebreakers including the Yamal.