submarines rely on nuclear power for both propulsion and life support.
The nuclear reactor heats water to make steam that drives a turbine to
turn the propeller. The same system also provides steam for the boat's
turbine generators, the source of electricity for all submarine systems,
including oxygen makers.
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a Nuclear Submarine
Copyright © 2000, The
National Museum of American History
Maneuvering Room Consoles
Pictures to the right
Supervised by the engineering officer of the watch, one petty officer mans each
of these three consoles to monitor and control the submarine's entire nuclear
power plant. The console to your left controls the steam turbines. The center
console is the nuclear reactor control panel, while the right-hand console
controls the electrical system.
Displaying consoles like these in public, something never before done,
has required modifications to protect sensitive classified information
about the design and operation of nuclear-powered submarines. Where
necessary, scales on instrument faces have been modified, instrument
labels altered, or instruments repositioned, and some classified nuclear
instrumentation has been removed.
The Navy has worked closely with the Museum to keep such changes to a minimum and
to preserve overall appearance. These consoles look much as they did during their
active life aboard the fast attack USS Sand Lance (SSN-660).