WWAY TV 3
WILMINGTON -- The world's first nuclear-powered ship could wind up in Wilmington. The Maritime Administration wants to decommission the NS Savannah and it's considering Wilmington as a possible site.
At 600 feet it's a ship that rivals the size of the Battleship North Carolina.
Government officials are thinking about bringing the NS Savannah to the Wilmington riverfront.
NS Savannah Senior Technical Advisor Erhard Koehler said, "Savannah is arguably one of the most beautiful ships that was built; it certainly would grace the waterfront for however long she's here."
The nuclear ship was originally launched in 1959 during the Eisenhower administration, demonstrating the peaceful and productive use of atomic power.
The Maritime Administration now wants to decommission the ship, literally taking out the empty reactor.
Koehler said, "Wilmington possesses certainly a nuclear infrastructure that's capable of doing this type of work, and it's one of the port cities that we're considering along the east coast."
It's not a done deal yet. Charleston, S.C. and Norfolk, Va. are also in the running for the decommissioning project.
It is a venture that could bring jobs to the area, as well as a significant addition to the skyline.
Southport resident and former Savannah crew member Joe Seelinger would love to have the ship so close to home.
"To get the Savannah down here, even temporarily, I think would be wonderful," Seelinger said.
When the decommissioning project is finished possible plans include turning the Savannah into a museum, much like the Battleship North Carolina.
The NS Savannah's active sailing life ended in 1971, that's when crews removed all of the nuclear fuel from the ship.
If done right, this is something I support. I enjoy touring old ships and subs.