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N.S. Savannah, world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship, to be decommissioned in Baltimore

The N.S. Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, which is docked at Canton Marine Terminal in Baltimore, will be decommissioned in the coming years, federal officials say.

The ship, christened in 1959 as part of President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, carried passengers and cargo through national and international waters and ports for just over a decade before it was removed from service and had its reactor defueled in 1971.

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It was briefly operated as a museum in South Carolina before making berth at Canton Marine Terminal’s Pier 13.

The decommissioning — a ship’s formal retirement — will remove the rest of the N.S. Savannah’s nuclear systems and allow the U.S. Maritime Administration to terminate the ship’s license. The process is expected to take more than a year and be completed between October 2023 and September 2024.

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Once all the nuclear components are removed, the Maritime Administration will dispose of the ship by donating it, using it for artificial reefing or offering it for recycling.

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