A specialized nuclear-propelled submarine, developed in great secrecy, has become one of the Navy's most publicized projects. Indeed, the Navy even has produced a film—Search the Oceans—describing the origins and capabilities of the nuclear research vehicle NR-1.
The NR-1 was conceived and constructed as a special project by Admiral H. G. Rickover, then head of the Navy's nuclear-propulsion program. Admiral Rickover's efforts to develop a broad range of nuclear reactor plants led him to advocate the development of a small submarine reactor. At the same time—following the loss of the nuclear submarine Thresher (SSN-593) in 1963—the Navy was placing major emphasis on deep-submergence research, rescue, and ocean-engineering programs.