I'm in Rhode Island again for a few days and had some free time this afternoon. I decided to drive down to Groton, CT to visit the Submarine Force Library and Museum. Electric Boat Company is based here and built many of the subs used by the US Navy over the years. This includes the Nautilus, the first nuclear sub in the world which is on display there.
The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980, having been made obsolete many years before. She was built using the form of the WW II subs that spent most of their time on the surface, only diving when necessary. Subs now are built to operate under water and have a round front instead of a bow like a ship. The Nautilus was the first sub to visit the North Pole and to cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Artic Ocean.
I have toured many WWII subs and they were all small and cramped. The Nautilus had much more space and felt less claustrophobic than earlier subs. The newest Ohio class subs are much, much larger so they would be something to see.
Only the forward areas of the Nautilus are open for visiting. Even though they have removed the reactor, there is still some residual radioactivity and they will not let you near that area of the sub. They say it is perfectly safe, but they are either being overly cautious or there are still aspects of nuclear propulsion systems they don't want the public to see.
It was a fun afternoon. Here are some pictures if you're interested: Photos