South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

N/S Savannah (Nuclear Ship), Charleston County
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(Nuclear Merchant Ship) The Nuclear Ship Savannah, designed by George W. Sharp, Inc., of New York and built in 1958-1961 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey, was the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant vessel. The ship was built to demonstrate the applicability of nuclear power to commercial shipping and carried cargo and passengers worldwide during its commercial career from 1965 to 1970. The design for the Savannah’s pressurized water reactor was begun in 1956. The project was under the joint administration of the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Atomic Energy Commission. The 74-megawatt reactor, designed and fabricated by Babcock and Wilcox Company of New York, is located in the hull. The Savannah had seven cargo holds with a capacity of 9,400 tons, carried a crew of sixty-seven, and had accommodations for sixty passengers. The ship had air conditioning, elevators, modern functional decorations, and a swimming pool. The Savannah remains unique and a symbol of the highest level of technology ever attained by the American merchant marine. Listed in the National Register November 14, 1982; Designated a National Historic Landmark July 17, 1991. The N/S Savannah has been relocated to Newport News, Virginia. Removed from the National Register December 8, 2005.

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