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NS Otto Hahn

The German built-nuclear ship (NS) Otto Hahn is one of only four nuclear powered cargo vessels ever built. Configured to carry passengers and ore, the NS Otto Hahn was powered by a single 38 MW advanced pressurized light water reactor which first achieved criticality in 1968. After the completion of preliminary sketches, a contract was signed on Nov. 28, 1962, for the construction of the ship. The original plan was for the reactor to be organic-moderated and gas-cooled, but it can be changed. The Otto Hahn’s keel was laid in 1963 by Kieler Howaldswerke AG. The ship was named in honor of Otto Hahn, the German chemist and Nobel prizewinner, who was credited with the discovery of nuclear fission of uranium in 1938.

After 10 years of worldwide operation the nuclear research ship “Otto Hahn” was taken off duty in 1979. After having shipped 650000 nautical miles and having used two cores of fuels the research purpose of the ship was fulfilled and the owner, the states company GKSS, decided to remove the whole nuclear drive assembly which was placed midships in three compartments. The dismantling concept aimed to release the ship out of regulatory control - compared with the principle “green meadow” - to have it available for further use after having installed a diesel engine.

The NS Otto Hahn was equipped with a compact pressurized water reactor especially constructed for ships, with steam generators and coolant pumps integrated into the reactor pressure vessel all arranged in a tank which formed the reactor shield. This unit was shielded in a way that the containment could be entered even during operation. In the three compartments were installed the following nuclear equipments: in the left box the reactor unit including the coolant pumps and the heat generators, in the right box the service of the core like the pool where the fuels are stored, and in the middle other service equipments like nuclear auxiliary systems, hot workshop, laboratories, changing room and personnel airlock.

In 1983, the ship was rebuilt as a fully cellular container ship by Rickmers at Bremerhaven, and was renamed Trophy. Her nuclear reactor and steam turbines were replaced by a diesel engine. She would later sail as the Norasia Susan, the Norasia Helga, the Carmen, and the Hua Kang He. In 1998 she was converted back to a general cargo ship and sailed as the Anais, the Tai, and finally a Greek transporter the Madre, which was beached in an unscrupulous way in India.

As the last President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and first president of its successor, the Max Planck Society, from 1946 until 1960, Otto Hahn (1879-1968) sought to portray science under the Third Reich as a purely intellectual endeavor untainted by National Socialism. During the National Socialist period, he distinguished himself as an upright non-Nazi, but his postwar attitude was characterized by suppression and denial of Germany’s recent past. Particular examples include Hahn’s testimony for colleagues involved in denazification and on trial in Nuremberg; his postwar relationships with émigré colleagues, including Lise Meitner; and his misrepresentation of his wartime work in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry.

The role that Otto Hahn (1879 1968) played in the discovery of nuclear fission and whether Lise Meitner (1878 1968) should have shared the Nobel Prize for that discovery have been subjects of earlier studies, but there is more to the story. Hahn and the scientists in his Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem made significant contributions they made to the German uranium project during the Second World War.

LOA 172 m / 559 ft
Beam 23.4 m
Displacement 25,795 tons
Deadweight 14,040 tons
Speed 17 knots
Reactor38 Mw
Reactor Volume 35 m3

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Page last modified: 16-07-2012 18:46:22 ZULU