Historic USS Nautilus reopens to public after preservation project – NBC Connecticut

The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, reopened for public tours Friday after a $36 million preservation project.

Located at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, the Nautilus is the only nuclear-powered naval vessel available to the public for general viewing. To celebrate the historic ship’s return to public display, a large crowd gathered for a ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Vice Admiral William Houston said the Nautilus, which served the Navy for more than 25 years, left a legacy that drives the force today.

“He really embodied our underwater advantage as a nation,” Vice Admiral Houston said.

Joseph Franks, a Nautilus veteran from Preston, attended the ceremony. He served on the Nautilus from 1970 to 1974.

“It’s kind of emotional, just the fact that I was part of the story,” Franks said. “Being on the first, at the time, I didn’t know what it meant, but I learned pretty early.”

The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and named a National Historic Landmark in 1982. Preservation ensured that the historic ship could be active at the museum for the next 30 years, according to the Navy New London Public Affairs Office.

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