This ship was supposed to usher in an age of nuclear-powered travel
The N.S. Savannah was built to introduce an atomic age of super-clean, hyper-efficient sailing vessels, but ended up a relic in Baltimore Harbor. Why?
The world had been living under the threat of nuclear war for the better part of a decade when President Dwight D. Eisenhower had an idea: Let’s give atomic power a makeover. Ike came up with Atoms for Peace, a three-pronged effort to rehabilitate our friend the atom as a harmless harbinger of unlimited possibility. Prong one: domestic nuclear energy. Prong two: nuclear medicine. Prong three: nuclear-powered transportation.
Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
One recent morning I was welcomed aboard the only surviving relic of Ike’s third prong: the N.S. Savannah (“N.S.” stands for nuclear ship), the world’s first nuke-powered merchant vessel. Put into service in August 1962, the hybrid freighter/cruise ship plied the world’s oceans for