MARAD decommissioning Savannah : What’s next?

February 16, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The N.S. Savannah. (Photo: N.S. Savannah Association)

What will happen to the retired nuclear-powered merchant ship, the N.S. Savannah? The Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the Department of Transportation is investigating possibilities for the vessel’s future, whether it be in disposition, transportation, or preservation.

MARAD is currently decommissioning the nuclear power plant of the Savannah, which will result in termination of the ship's Nuclear Regulatory Commission license.

Due date: On October 30, 2023, MARAD published a notice of availability and request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register to determine preservation interest from those parties that may wish to acquire the Savannah. Information received in response to the RFI will help inform MARAD of the development of viable preservation alternatives for the ship. The due date for responses is April 1, 2024.

Ship visit: MARAD is hosting an information session onboard the Savannah on February 24, 2024, to allow interested parties the opportunity to ask questions of MARAD personnel and to view the ship. The information session will take place in a hybrid format: in person, online, and by phone.

Interested parties must register for the information session (see bulleted items) no later than February 17, 2024, to facilitate entry or to receive information to attend virtually.

For further information, contact Erhard W. Koehler, senior technical advisor, N.S. Savannah, MARAD, at 202/680–2066 or by email at

Additional information regarding the vessel is available at

History: Built in 1959, the Savannah is the world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship and served as a signature element of President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program. While in service, the ship demonstrated the peaceful use of atomic power and explored the feasibility of nuclear-powered merchant vessels. Savannah was retired from active service in 1970 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In 1991, it began serving as an exhibition of the nuclear, maritime, transportation, and political heritages of the United States.

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