D&D of USS Nautilus prototype reactor to begin in 2023

February 14, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste Solutions
The interior of the Submarine 1st Generation Westinghouse prototype, located at the Naval Reactors Facility on the INL site, circa mid-1950s. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on February 10 that it is set to deactivate and demolish the prototype for the reactor used for the USS Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole.

The history and future of civilian nuclear power afloat

December 10, 2021, 2:35PMNuclear NewsGail H. Marcus and Steven M. Mirsky

In the early days of the development of nuclear power, a broad range of nuclear technologies and applications were explored. Among these developments were the use of nuclear propulsion for ships, both military and civilian, as well as a floating nuclear power plant. While the use of nuclear power for naval vessels, including submarines and surface ships, continued, most of the civilian uses of nuclear power on the water were ultimately terminated.

Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in both floating nuclear power plants and the use of nuclear propulsion in the civilian sector. The renewed interest makes this a particularly timely moment to recount the initial developments in this area. Some of the early civilian nuclear vessels were discussed in two sessions during the June 2021 ANS Annual Meeting, “NS Savannah History” and “History of Non-­Naval Nuclear Ship Power.” This article draws on the presentations from those sessions, the second of which was cochaired by the authors, as well as on other studies of the history of nuclear power.

Remembering Vice Admiral Wilkinson on the 102nd anniversary of his birth

August 10, 2020, 6:58AMNuclear NewsAnn Marie Daniel Winters

We owe a debt of gratitude to Dennis Wilkinson, born 102 years ago today. Dennis did so much for the nuclear power industry—both in the Navy and in the commercial sector. When people first met him, he invariably stuck out his hand, grinned, and said, “Hi, I’m Dennis.” No pretense, no pomposity, no self-importance. Supremely confident and brilliant, he was also compassionate and warm with an engaging sense of humor. Many people he met became life-long friends, as he often said that “friendship is forever.”

Ann Winters: On the 100th anniversary of Wilkinson’s birth

August 1, 2018, 9:10AMNuclear News


Dennis Wilkinson would have celebrated his 100th birthday on August 10, 2018. The life and career of the man who captained the first nuclear-powered submarine and the first nuclear-­powered surface ship and was the first president and chief executive officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) have been captured in Ann Winters’s book, Underway on Nuclear Power: The Man Behind the Words, Eugene P. “Dennis” Wilkinson, Vice Admiral USN.

Because of his inherent drive, Wilkinson was often called a cowboy, maverick, visionary, innovator, and superb leader. As the first commanding officer of USS Nautilus, he was a major player in revolutionizing underwater warfare. Nautilus and its crew were immensely popular, at home and abroad, and in the 1950s became what we now call “rock stars.” Nautilus gave nuclear power celebrity status at a time when the United States and the world were grappling with Cold War issues.