Portable Nuclear Power Plants
Posted in the Brattleboro Forum
#1 Nov 17, 2013
#2 Nov 17, 2013
In 1960, a project was undertaken by the US military the likes of which seem almost impossible today. In fact, I doubt we would ever make it past an environmental impact study. But back then, there seemed to be a more ambitious spirit for big feats of imagination and engineering.
Project Iceworm was an attempt to build a veritable city under the snow and ice of Greenland. Tunnels were cut into the ice and buildings erected which housed hundreds of personnel. The encampment, dubbed Camp Century, had heated barracks, a kitchen, mess hall, medical center, laboratories. The camp was staffed year round by more than 200.
All of this was made possible by a cutting edge nuclear reactor. Keeping the camp powered by conventional means required the transport of enormous volumes of diesel fuel. This was simply not sustainable for such a large a remotely-located facility. The PM-2A was one of the first portable nuclear power systems ever created. It was transported to the site and preformed well for the length of the project. It provided ample electricity, which was used for everything from heating the structures to melting ice to provide drinking water.
A truly amazing film was made to document the project:
#3 Nov 17, 2013
What about this amazing small reactor heading for the artic...
The SL-1, or Stationary Low-Power Reactor Number One, was a United States Army experimental nuclear power reactor which underwent a steam explosion and meltdown on January 3, 1961, killing its three operators. The direct cause was the improper withdrawal of the central control rod, responsible for absorbing neutrons in the reactor core. The event is the only known fatal reactor incident in the United States. The incident released about 80 curies (3.0 TBq) of iodine-131, which was not considered significant due to its location in a remote desert of Idaho. About 1,100 curies (41 TBq) of fission products were released into the atmosphere.
The facility, located at the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was part of the Army Nuclear Power Program and was known as the Argonne Low Power Reactor (ALPR) during its design and build phase. It was intended to provide electrical power and heat for small, remote military facilities, such as radar sites near the Arctic Circle, and those in the DEW Line. The design power was 3 MW (thermal). Operating power was 200 kW electrical and 400 kW thermal for space heating.
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