The N.S. Savannah (NSS), a registered National Historic Landmark and the world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship, was launched in 1959 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy as part of the Atoms for Peace Program. After the NSS completed its mission, the ship was removed from service and the reactor was defueled. Today, all that remains of the nuclear power plant aboard the ship are its systems, structures, and components.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, through the Maritime Administration (MARAD), continues to hold a license issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to possess and dismantle a non-operational nuclear reactor and power plant aboard the N.S. Savannah. As the agency implements the decommissioning –- the license termination (DECON-LT) process -- the facility will remain under the NRC regulatory regimen to maintain a healthy and safe environment for workers and the community. Eventually, MARAD will decommission the NSS nuclear facility by removing remaining systems, structures, and components to allow for NRC’s termination of MARAD’s license without restrictions. Once decommissioned, MARAD will determine the future of the Savannah vessel.