Nuclear-powered Savannah to get Makeover

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
(Photo Credit: MarAd)

Savannah, an old nuclear-powered ship that spent time in Charleston Harbor as a tourist attraction, is getting a face lift for a possible new tour of duty, according to a report on Savannah was the world's first nuclear-powered cargo and passenger vessel. It is set to be restored, possibly for its second stint as a floating museum, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Norfolk, Va.-based Colonna's Shipyard recently was awarded a $995,000 contract to renovate the 596-foot ship, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991, when it was still part of the naval museum at state-owned Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. The restoration work is part of a government plan to remove the inactive nuclear reactor, get rid of any leftover radiation, and prepare the ship for a new mission.

The ship was a pet project of President Eisenhower and his "Atoms for Peace" plan in the 1950s. It was supposed to haul freight but ended up as a government showpiece for nuclear propulsion. (Source:

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