Steam turbines propel nuclear-powered submarines. Heat from the nuclear reactor, regulated from consoles in the maneuvering room, generates the steam that drives the turbines, which are geared to a propeller shaft. The rotating propeller drives the submarine through the water.

Model of Propeller from Sturgeon-Class Nuclear-powered Submarine (shown to the right)
Because propeller design is so important to both speed and noise levels, it remains one of the most secret aspects of submarine technology. This declassified model of the propeller from a 1960s Sturgeon-class fast attack submarine is the first ever put on public display. The model was used in tests at the David Taylor Model Basin, Carderock, Maryland, to improve propeller design. Hydrodynamic testing focused on achieving the greatest submarine speed through the water with the least noise and turbulence to reveal the boat's position. Courtesy David Taylor Model Basin, U.S. Navy

See also: The Loss of the Thresher


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