NS Savannah Comment Period

As many of you know, MARAD has been working for the past few years on the first phase of it decommissioning project.  Well, that phase is finished, and we’re now close to awarding the service contract for the dismantlement of the NS Savannah nuclear power plant, leading to termination of our license with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The process to accomplish the dismantlement and license termination will take from 4-5 years to complete.  When the license is terminated, MARAD will be free to dispose of the ship.

Again, as you know, our hope is to accomplish a seamless license termination and disposition, so the pending contract award will start the clock running on disposition.  To that end, MARAD published a Federal Register notice to seek public input and comment on the disposition.  This is just a first step in the disposition process, and we’re not yet asking for actual proposals to take the ship (although we have received at least one in concept already).

If you haven’t already done so, I am hoping that will take some time this weekend or on Monday to review the notice and provide comments to MARAD.  The attached newsletter of the NS Savannah Chapter of the Universal Ship Cancellation Society includes the complete notice, so you don’t have to look it up on the web.  You can provide comments without going to the regulations.gov website; just send them by email as below.  This is a lot easier, and emailed comments have the same weight and get the same consideration as those posted on the website (in fact, MARAD uploads email and snail mail comments to the online docket, so everything is altogether in one spot).

The email address is:   rulemakings.marad@dot.gov  You’ll need to include the docket number in the subject line of your email: that is  “MARAD-2020-0133“. 

Although most of you are familiar with the project, here are a few key things to consider when thinking about the ship’s potential future:

  • The dismantlement only involves what’s inside the reactor compartment.  The rest of the ship is not affected.
  • The rest of the ship is in great shape!  In fact, we’ve made many improvements to it to support the contract activities, and those improvements can be adapted to any sort of preservation use – except for a hotel.
  • Savannah is well equipped for any type of service; she’s all electric; climate controlled in all public spaces, two cargo holds, the reactor compartment, and working gallery spaces; she has modern, Baltimore fire department compliant fire & smoke detection and functional alarm systems throughout; she’s well equipped for personnel access and emergency egress; the list goes on.  In my opinion she’s already a better-outfitted “museum-like” vessel than most actual museum ships.

So the thing here is that the dismantlement project really should be the first step in Savannah’s next career; and doesn’t need to be her last step overall.

I thank you in advance for taking some time to read the notice, and provide comments to the docket.  And do please feel free to forward this around.



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