I got radio parts too; but this kind of thing happens to me a lot -- it helps to be eclectic.
That book is pretty fascinating stuff (updated, it remains in print!) and Babcock and Wilcox is not just another rustbelt industry vanished in the mists of a previous time; they are very much still around and about as modern as next week. At the time this book was published, their little Boiler Division plant in Mt. Vernon, IN had not yet been completed; now it's rather vast and in another division altogether.
Nevertheless, a pressure vessel is a pressure vessel and steam power is the same, no matter how it's generated and they've been good at both for a very long time -- which is probably why they got tapped for this project:Yes, it says "World's first nuclear-powered merchant ship" and no, it's not some artist's-conception dream, either. It sailed, er, steamed. Intended more as proof-of-concept and designed to look good in the doing, it never turned the profit a conventionally-driven freighter of like size would have. Withal, the power plant ran without trouble, unless you count the time it shut down, automatically and safely, in heavy seas -- exactly as it was designed to.
There have been four reactor-driven freighters, only one of which remains in service; in addition to the U.S., Japan, Germany and the former Soviet Union built them. The biggest issue appears to be the need for additional crew training and a few more specialists, along with some dedicated service vessels. Reactor waste was a particular challenge early on. NS Savannah -- named after the first steamship to cross the Atlantic -- came to the end of her working days in 1972 and spent a few years as a floating museum exhibit. Presently in the process of having her reactor decommissioned, with a bit of luck she will emerge from the process as a museum ship again.
You may wonder, "is this retrotechnology?" I believe it is. To a very great extent, modern civilization continues to run on steam. Much of it is still produced by burning coal in boilers that, other than scale, would not be terribly unfamiliar to men who designed and built the SS Savannah's boilers around 1818. Even NS Savannah's reactor has become, at the age of 50, "retro."
Will we see her like again soon? Possibly not. Between real fears of proliferation or piracy and irrational ones about the power plant itself, probably not. On the other hand, the Russians are still running a handful of atomic icebreakers; so don't write it off just yet.