KITTERY, Maine — The Navy has awarded a contract of nearly $55 million for a 140-ton crane at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The contract with Konecranes Nuclear Equipment and Services is part of the Navy's plan to extend the life of up to seven Los Angeles-class attack submarines at the shipyard.

The crane will allow workers to safely refuel the submarines with new reactor cores.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine said they welcomed the investment in the shipyard's future.

The funding for the new crane was provided in the defense appropriations bill signed into law in September.

A separate military spending bill signed into law last month provides $40 million to extend a rail system that’s needed to support the crane.

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