|USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first vessel to complete a submerged transit across the North Pole.|
In July 1951 the US Congress authorized the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine for the U.S. Navy, which was planned and personally supervised by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. On December 12, 1951 the U.S. Department of the Navy announced that the submarine would be called Nautilus — the sixth US Navy vessel so named — and would carry the hull number SSN-571.
Nautilus's keel was laid at General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division in Groton, Connecticut by Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, on June 14, 1952. She was christened on January 21, 1954 and launched into the Thames River, sponsored by Mamie Eisenhower, the wife of Truman's successor Dwight D. Eisenhower. Nautilus was commissioned on September 30, 1954, under the command of Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson, USN.
Nautilus was powered by the S2W naval reactor, a pressurized water reactor produced for the US navy by Westinghouse Electric (1886).