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September 30, 1954 - World’s First Nuclear Submarine

Wednesday, September 30th 2020, 6:00 am - On Sept. 30, 1954, the USS Nautilus was commissioned and became the first of its kind: It ran for the first time under nuclear power on the morning of Jan. 17, 1955.

World's first nuclear sub/U.S. Navy Then, on Sept. 30, 1954, the USS Nautilus was commissioned and became the first of its kind: It ran for the first time under nuclear power on the morning of Jan. 17, 1955. Photo: U.S. Navy.

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The USS Nautilus was first constructed in 1947. In 1952, the Nautilus‘ keel was laid by then-President Harry S. Truman, and on Jan. 21, 1954, first lady Mamie Eisenhower broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne across its bow as it was launched into the Thames River at Groton, Conn.

Then, on Sept. 30, 1954, the USS Nautilus was commissioned and became the first of its kind: It ran for the first time under nuclear power on the morning of Jan. 17, 1955.

The remarkable feature to the submarine was that it could remain submerged for almost unlimited periods because its atomic engine needed no air and only a very small quantity of nuclear fuel. The science was that a uranium-powered nuclear reactor, the real dangerous part, produced steam that created the thrust to propel the turbines. This was how the Nautilus was capable of traveling underwater at close to 40 km/h.

The USS Nautilus broke multiple submarine travel records in its early years of service, and then in August 1958, it accomplished the first voyage under the geographic North Pole.

On today's podcast, Chris Mei talks about how the USS Nautilus came to be, its power and its long list of accomplishments as the first of its kind in the world.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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