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NEWS | May 31, 2024

Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston Celebrates Major Program Milestones

Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – The Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston celebrated the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program’s 75th Anniversary and a major training program milestone as the S5W Training Program transitions to the S6G Training Program during a ceremony May 30, 2024.

Over the last 75 years, the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and the Navy’s nuclear-powered warships have demonstrated clear superiority in defending the United States – from the Cold War to today’s unconventional threats and strategic competition – Naval Reactors ensures the American Sailor and the nuclear fleet are ready to fight and win the nation’s wars. An integral part of this legacy is the nuclear operator training that takes place at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston.

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is a joint Department of Navy and Department of Energy organization responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion. Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston provides training and qualification of nuclear operators that serves a joint Department of Navy and Department of Energy certification.

The Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration Jill Hruby participated in the ceremony and spoke of the unique partnership between the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, the Department of Energy, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Today, naval nuclear propulsion is more important to the success of NNSA’s mission that ever before,” said Hruby.  “In a more dynamic international environment where we face both immediate and evolving, long-term threats, the flexibility and technological advancements of the nuclear-powered fleet underpins our deterrence and serves as a key source of assurance for our allies.”

Established in 1989, Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston commenced S5W training operations onboard the Moored Training Ship 635. The S5W training program has safely operated the Moored Training Ship 626 and Moored Training Ship 635 for over 30 years and trained more than 37,000 officer and enlisted operators. There is no substitute for presence and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers remain the most survivable and versatile airfields in the world, while nuclear-powered fast attack and large payload submarines hold adversaries at risk in both contested seas and open oceans. Today, the Navy operates 96 reactors and 79 nuclear-powered warships. The S5W Training Program has directly supported these warships, their operations, and U.S. national security.

During the ceremony, Adm. Bill Houston, Director of Naval Reactors, acknowledged the importance of naval nuclear propulsion capabilities for national security.

“Here at Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston, we imbue our Sailors and officers with the required principles, knowledge and practical skills to safely operate a reactor at sea,” said Houston. “We’re decommissioning the S5W training program after 34 successful years, and S6G is running and ready for the next 34 years. This unbroken legacy is key to our success and ensures that the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program remains the Nation’s asymmetric advantage and will power maritime dominance for the next 75 years.”

The transition to the S6G training program is a major program milestone. The S6G Moored Training Ship 701 and Moored Training Ship 711 will continue to train nuclear operators for the next 30 years. The S6G Training Program also incorporates new training technologies, ranging from computer guided study to desktop simulator virtual training to fully immersive simulation technology.

The General Manager of Naval Nuclear Laboratory, Mr. Thomas Sambolt, also spoke and recognized the role of these new technologies on the future of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion training program.

During the ceremony, a previous officer in charge of the Moored Training Ship 635, retired Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny, commemorated the S5W training program legacy and spoke of the importance of his time at Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston.

“This site and the people who supported the mission of training nuclear operators opened a window for me to the meaning of technical excellence and a steadfast commitment to support the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program,” said McAneny. “From stem to stern this facility was manned and supported by Sailors and civilians motivated to be part of a team that worked round the clock to produce the world’s best nuclear operators.”

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is responsible for all aspects of the Navy's nuclear propulsion, including research, design, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, and ultimate disposition of naval nuclear propulsion plants. The program's responsibilities include all related facilities, radiological controls, environmental safety and health matters, as well as the selection, training, and assignment of personnel. Naval Reactors maintains an outstanding record of over 171 million miles safely steamed on nuclear power.