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The long -term job of cleaning up the radioactive corpse of the only short-term nuclear-powered cruise ship

N.H. firm to decommission the only nuclear-powered cruise ship, 4 Apr 21,  A New Hampshire company that has disposed of radioactive material for decades is part of a joint venture that recently won a $54 million contract to decommission one of the few non-military nuclear ships e
ver built.“The Savannah is a very, very interesting ship. It is a cruise ship, a nuclear cruise ship,” said James “Jay” Tarzia, co-owner of Radiation Safety and Control Services of Seabrook.

“It was a test concept for (President) Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ program. It had some cargo space, but it was a cruise ship with a swimming pool, lounge, the whole ball of wax. For 10 years or so it traveled around the world to show off peaceful use of nuclear power.”The Nuclear Ship Savannah was launched in 1959 and taken out of service in 1971, and has been mostly stored since. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991; the designation says the ship “sailed half a million miles around the world and was visited by 1.5 million people. This exposure, unprecedented for a nuclear facility, is credited with easing anxieties over nuclear energy.”

The Savannah’s nuclear power plant, a pressurized-water reactor that created steam to drive the engines, was removed decades ago, but residual radioactivity lingers in pipes and other equipment within the reactor containment area. A joint venture called Nuclear Ship Support Services, consisting of Radiation Safety and Control Services along with Energy Solutions of Charlotte, N.C., will determine what needs to be removed and disposed of in licensed landfills or radioactive waste sites.

The contract extends for four years with an option for a fifth and will probably involve “a couple thousand pounds” of material, Tarzia said.The goal is to render the ship safe enough so that it no longer has to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At that point it will either be scrapped or turned into a museum. David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or 

April 4, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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