Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

121-5070-0001 N.S. Savannah

N.S. Savannah
*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

NRHP Listing Date 11/14/1982

NHL Listing Date 07/17/1991

NRHP Reference Number 82001518

The Nuclear Ship Savannah is a boldly-styled passenger/cargo vessel powered by a nuclear reactor. Although less than fifty years old at the time of designation, N.S. Savannah possesses exceptional national significance as the first application of nuclear power to a commercial ship; and as the structure most associated with President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative. The combination passenger/cargo ship demonstrated to the world the safe and reliable operation of this new technology, resulted in the establishing of a nuclear ship training program for civilian crew members, established procedures for commercial nuclear ships to enter domestic and foreign ports, and identified a series of issues which would require resolution in a second generation of commercial nuclear ships (disputes over crew pay scales, liability, and commercial viability). In addition to her important role in maritime history, Savannah served a unique public relations role as a floating exhibit on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In this context, she traveled more than 450,000 miles to 32 domestic ports and 45 foreign ports, and was visited by more than 1.4 million people. This level of public exposure was unprecedented for a nuclear facility. A concurrent benefit of this favorable exposure was the acceptance of naval nuclear ships in foreign ports.
[NRHP/NHL Listed Only; as of 2020 the Savannah is berthed in Baltimore]

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: April 2, 2020