NS Savannah was the world's first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship. Designed by George G. Sharp, Inc. as a US government project to promote the peaceful use of atomic energy, the vessel was built at Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Co. between 1958 and 1962. On completion, NS Savannah displaced 22,000 tons and could carry 9400 tons of cargo and 60 passengers.

The nuclear reactor, designed and built by Babcock & Wilcox, was powered by uranium and supplied steam to a De Laval geared twin-turbine engine and single propeller. Top speed was 21 knots. It was operated initially by the US Maritime Administration and the Atomic Energy Commission. Between 1965 and 1970 the Savannah was used for cargo voyages although the high operating cost and large crew made the vessel uneconomic for commercial use. 'Savannah was laid up in 1970 and her nuclear fuel was removed in 1971. The vessel has been registered as a US National Historic Landmark and remains in storage. Two other nuclear-powered merchant ships have been built. The 'NS Otto Hahn' in Germany (1964) and the 'NS Sevmorput' (1988) in the USSR. 'Otto Hahn' was converted to conventional power and the 'Sevmorput' remains in service.

Physical Description

Wooden model of ship painted red and white with grey deck. One side has been sectioned to show the engine room inside. There is a pool on the deck towards the rear. Mounted on two brass supports. Supports, some rigging and a piece of canopy trim removed for Think Ahead exhibition, 2013.

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