On January 21, 1954, the U.S.S. Nautilus, the world’s first submarine powered by nuclear energy, was launched on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut. The technology of the Nautilus would change naval exploration and warfare forever.The Nautilus was powered by a nuclear reactor. The reactor produced heat that was used to boil water. Steam from the boiling water drove steam turbines that created electricity. Electricity was used to propel the submarine, maintain living conditions such as temperature and air quality, and even support desalination processes.Unlike engines that run on fossil fuels, nuclear reactors do not require frequent refueling or air. This means the Nautilus and other nuclear-powered submarines could remain underwater for much, much longer time periods than traditional submarines. In fact, the Nautilus’ first voyage became what was then the world’s longest submarine trip—from New London, Connecticut, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.Nuclear reactors also create an enormous amount of power. This allowed the Nautilus and other nuclear-powered submarines to quickly respond to threats. Nuclear-powered submarines can maneuver and change depth much more easily than traditional submarines.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry air quality Noun
measurement of pollutants and other harmful materials in the air.
process of converting seawater to fresh water by removing salt and minerals.
set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.
machine that converts energy into power or motion.
study and investigation of unknown places, concepts, or issues.
group of ships, usually organized for military purposes.
fossil fuel Noun
coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.
a skillful movement.
political unit made of people who share a common territory.
Encyclopedic Entry: nation naval Adjective
having to do with a government's navy, or military ships and crew.
nuclear energy Noun
energy released by reactions among the nuclei of atoms.
Encyclopedic Entry: nuclear energy propel Verb
to push forward.
steam turbine Noun
machine driven by the movement of steam passing over blades or rotors.
vehicle that can travel underwater.
the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
Encyclopedic Entry: temperature threat Noun
long journey or trip.
armed conflict between two or more groups of people, usually representing different nations or other political organizations.