Savannah: A southern belle

I'm a diesel man, I like it big, loud, and rumbling. Don't talk to me about antiquities and all that "how it use to be" shit. Ok, in my old age I am learning to appreciate the finer point of older machinery and the beauty and simplicity and of course the quietness of it all. One of the reason is the Nuclear Ship Savannah.

The NS Savannah has got to be one of the prettiest working ship anyone could ever set sights on. Although it was taken out of service in 1973, after only 13 years of "work", I still think it is one of the coolest ships around. It was built to demonstrate the useful peacetime application of the "Atom". It tramped around the world carrying some cargo, but mostly demonstrating the capabilities of peaceful nuclear use. The Germans and Japanese also built similar ships, and of course the Russian have used "Peaceful Atoms" in the icebreaker fleets for a long time, but I would arguee that none of those ships are quite as pretty as the Savannah.

The plant consist of a single screw driven by a steam turbines provide with by a pressurized water nuclear reactor. The ship was designated by the US Government as a national monument and has recently been awarded funding to complete the decommissioning of the nuclear plant.

Here are some more details.

* Displacement: 22,000 tons
* Length: 596 ft (180 m) overall
* Beam: 78 ft (23.8 m)
* Complement: 124 crew, 60 passengers
* Cruising speed: 21 knots (40 km/h)
* Top speed: 24 knots (47 km/h)
* Power: 74 MW, 20,300 hp to a single propeller
* Load carrying capacity: 14,040 tons
* Watertight compartments: 14
* Loading spaces: 6
* Reactor manufacturer: Babcock & Wilcox
* Builders: New York Shipbuilding, Camden, NJ
* Cost: $46,900,000 ($18,600,000 for the ship, and $28,300,000 for the nuclear plant and fuel)
* Range: 300,000 miles at 20 knots on one single load of 32 fuel elements.

In the "engine room" picture to the right you can see a bit of the reactor and check out those cool shoulder boards, now that pretty unique.

You can find out more about the ship and the decommissioning project . You can also check out the US Maritime Administration's section on Savannah.

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