N/S Savannah, May 20, 2009--the ship was open for tours on July 18-19, 2009 at Canton Marine Terminal, Pier 13, in Baltimore, MD.

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    Photograph (C) copyright 2009 Ivan Safyan Abrams. All rights reserved.

    N/S Savannah celebrated her 50th anniversary with ceremonies and public tours at her berth, Canton Marine Terminal Pier 13, in Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19, 2009. This is the first time that Savannah hosted public tours since 1994. See below...

    N/S Savannah was intended to demonstrate that nuclear power could be used for peaceful purposes. She was built in the mid-1950s, though her appearance is thoroughly modern even in 2009. With one reactor located amidships, forward of the bridge and below the main deck, Savannah's range was basically unlimited. She operated as a general cargo ship from 1957 until 1972.

    Most ships that were retired in 1972 aren't seen docked in the middle of a busy port, flying signal flags and bearing a new paint job. Savannah's powerplant is the reason she's still around. Unlike a diesel or fossil-fuel steam plant which can be shut down and dismantled, nuclear reactors stay "hot", or radioactive, even when they're not operating. In fact, the reactor remains radioactive even after the nuclear fuel has been removed. Savannah may, or may not (the sources are conflicting), still have "hot" parts, though there seems to be general agreement that the uranium fuel and indeed most, if not all, of the reactor, were removed from the ship some years ago.

    That isn't to say the ship is unsafe. Whatever parts might still be radioactive are shielded, and the ship is crewed and radioactivity levels are monitored. It's safe enough that the public is occasionally permitted to tour the ship, through special arrangements or on occasions when an open house is held. We missed such an occasion by only a couple of days.

    N/S Savannah was expensive to operate, and in the days of cheap petroleum, was more costly than a comparably-sized ship powered by a fossil-fuel powerplant. Today, when oil is vastly more expensive than in the middle of the 20th century, Savannah would probably be cost-competitive with a fossil-fuel ship. But Savannah isn't going to return to sea.

    She's periodically dry-docked, and her new paint is the latest of a number of similar refurbishments over the years. Eventually, Savannah may become a museum, but for now, the US Maritime Administration keeps her docked under a long-term contract at one of Baltimore's piers. She's relatively accessible for photography, though a request for permission to the security guard is suggested.

    I had no idea that N/S Savannah was docked in Baltimore. I've known of the ship's existence since I was a child, and was very familiar with the Revell model kit of Savannah that was produced for years. I happened to spot her while Terry and I were looking around the port of Baltimore, and though very surprised--it was as if I were seeing a ghost--her lines were immediately recognizable.

    There's a great deal of information about N/S Savannah available online. I think that her story, and her continued existence, are very significant, and it's good to see that the US Maritime Commission is taking good care of her.

    hz536n/George Thomas, and 30 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. .Neus. [deleted] 58 months ago | reply

      This great photo is seen in:

      Please tag your photo with:

    2. Luis Montenegro ( Luis Casado Bermejo ) 58 months ago | reply

      Beautiful Perspective of Ship and wonderful colors and Landscape!!!
      Its a Great Job!!!

      Montenegro 1974 Spain

      This is A Peach of a Shot (Post 1 - Award 3)
      From 'A Peach of a Shot' Group .

    3. MichaelWomack 57 months ago | reply

      Ahhh I wondered what happened to her She was docked across from Charleston, SC across the river several years ago at the Patriots Point Naval Museum. If I recall all the nuclear components were removed with just a hole in the ship where the reactor was. The tour of the ship went by it and they had the reactor area behind glass. Glad to see they didn't scrap her though Thanks for the picture and info. Load some more up if you go thru the tour

    4. Finny's people 57 months ago | reply

      Beautiful lines indeed.

    5. steviej007 56 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Classic Merchant Shipping, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    6. luke cydonia [deleted] 56 months ago | reply

      i have the model kit of this ship...

    7. Tony Carlos Br 55 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Flickr Hive Mind, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      Search tag > Canton

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      be among the top 50, add here

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    8. Viimeiseen junaan [deleted] 51 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Veneet - laivat (boats - ships), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    9. Daryl Wilkes 51 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Commercial Shipping @ crew2crew, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    10. THATS RIGHT 48 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called PLANET EARTH OUR HOME, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
      Please join group if you have not already
      and share your wonderful photos and videos for all to see.


    11. THATS RIGHT 48 months ago | reply

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo for all to see.

      PLANET EARTH groups and galleries.

    12. Hanyi® 46 months ago | reply

      Hi u! It's really nice pic! I love it so much!

    13. Reinhard_Schuldt ( Brigitte Schuldt) 46 months ago | reply

      You have FORMAT! Terrific shot, YES!

    14. Reinhard_Schuldt ( Brigitte Schuldt) 46 months ago | reply

      Hallo, ich bin der Administrator der Gruppe SHIPPING HAMBURG & WORLDWIDE SHIPPING, und wir freuen uns, Ihr Foto unserer Gruppe hinzuzufügen.

    15. 'Froome' with a view, pictures ! 46 months ago | reply

      Fantastic looking ship, great shot :)

    16. Dominguin 45 months ago | reply

      Love this photo.

    17. DIGGER17 43 months ago | reply

      Beautiful shot ' i like ships ,

    18. travelr16 42 months ago | reply

      I think my dad has a picture of this from back in 94 or whatever. It may be a different ship, I don't know. If I find it again I will upload it.

    19. Roderick Eime 23 months ago | reply

      Wow, still an impressive ship. I wrote a little story about her for a magazine here:

    20. shobar 20 months ago | reply

      A silent reminder of the era of "the peaceful atom". Thanks for the fine photograph snd interesting annotation.

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