Marine Log

August 18, 2006

MARAD moves on Savannah decommissioning

Earlier this month, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) s awarded a $995,000 contract for topside work on the National Historic Landmark vessel N.S.(Nuclear Ship) Savannah to Colonna's. Now the agency says it will consider Wilmington, N.C., as well as other cities, for federal contracts for the decommissioning of the NS Savannah.

It plans to discuss the project during a public meeting in Wilmington, Monday, August 21.

Possible plans for the Savannah include making it into a museum.

The agency is looking to decommission the Savannah, originally launched July 21, 1959, during the Eisenhower Administration as the world's first nuclear-powered commercial vessel. It served as a museum from 1981 to 1994, and was moored at the James River Reserve Fleet until recently, when it was taken to Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk for topside and interior repairs. The topside repairs and the decommissioning bring closer the possibility that the Savannah will again serve as a museum. The ship's active sailing life ended in 1971, at which time all nuclear fuel was removed from the ship.

The decommissioning project includes removal of the ship's empty reactor and other components. A successful bidder will have to provide a secure berth conforming to local U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and submit to Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight of decommissioning activities.

Prior to its decision on where the work will be done, Maritime Administration officials are conducting a public meeting on Monday, August 21, at Office Showcase/Classroom B, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, to discuss the proposed project. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

More information on the NS Savannah and the decommissioning project is available online at MARAD's Web site,