U.S. and Soviet Union during Cold War
Launched January 17, 1955
320 feet long
Cost about $55 million.
Planned and personally supervised by Admiral
Hyman G. Rickover
First vessel to complete a submerged transit across
the North Pole.
World's first high-temperature nuclear reactor.
Shattered all submerged speed and distance records
Began in the early 1950s at the Institute of Physics
and Power Engineering
Work was done under Anatoliy P. Alexandrov
First reactor underwent operational testing in 1956
First nuclear submarine entered the Soviet Navy in
Between the late 1950s through 1997, the Soviet
Union, built at least 245 nuclear submarines, more
than all other nations combined
By eliminating the need for atmospheric oxygen, the length
of time that a nuclear submarine can remain submerged is
limited only by food stores, as breathing air is recycled and
fresh water distilled from seawater.
Nuclear power is now used in all large submarines
Today, United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, and
China use some form of nuclear submarines
The US Navy and the Royal Navy operate only nuclear
Nuclear submarines are expected to remain a vital part of
naval defense systems for many years to come
New Attack Submarine program
Devised in the 1990s, with the goal of replacing large and
expensive Seawolf attack submarines with smaller, less
expensive, yet equally effective nuclear submarines.
A nuclear submarine is heavily radioactive at the end of
Reactor must be shut down for a period to allow the
immediate radioisotopes to decay
Iodine-131, half-life 8.04 days, and Xenon-133, half-life
Spent fuel is sent to a storage facility where it is either
reprocessed or listed as radioactive waste.
Defueling removes over 99 percent of the radioactivity
The remaining radioactive elements remain toxic for
thousands of years.
Ex: radium-226 (half-life 1599 years), carbon-14 (half-life
5715 years), and iodine-129 (half-life 17,000,000 years)
Reactors aboard nuclear powered submarines
are far more enriched than the civilian
reactors used in power plants
20-45 percent Uranium 235 has been used as fuel in
as opposed to four percent in civilian reactors
Most nuclear submarines are equipped with
pressurized water reactors
Can operate for up to 25 years before