United States naval reactors


Research on developing nuclear reactors for the Navy was done at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania starting in 1948.

Since its inception in 1948, the U.S.


in 1953 at the Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho.


The first nuclear-powered vessel, the submarine , put to sea in 1955.


naval reactors have been PWRs, while the Soviet Navy used mainly PWRs, but also used lead-bismuth cooled liquid metal cooled reactors (LMFR) of three types in eight submarines: and the seven-member . Experience with USS Nautilus led to the parallel development of further () submarines, powered by single reactors, and an aircraft carrier, , powered by eight A2W reactor units in 1960.


A cruiser, , followed in 1961 and was powered by two C1W reactor units.


By 1962, the US Navy had 26 nuclear submarines operational and 30 under construction.


Navy submarines and supercarriers built since 1975 are nuclear-powered by such reactors.


Numerous submarines with an S5W reactor plant were built. At the end of the Cold War in 1989, there were over 400 nuclear-powered submarines operational or being built.


Navy, since the last conventional carrier, , was decommissioned in May 2009.


USS Enterprise remained in service for over 50 years, and was inactivated in 2012. Full-scale land-based prototype plants in Idaho, New York, and Connecticut preceded development of several types (generations) of U.S.

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