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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2010 2:58 am 
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The Army's Nuclear Power Program, the Evolution of a Support Agency, 1990

Good read...


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PostPosted: May 22, 2018 9:47 am 
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Nuclear power plant at Fort Greely to be decommissioned

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An Army Corp of Engineers team is planning the formal decommissioning of the only nuclear power plant ever built in Alaska, Fort Greely’s SM-1A plant. The SM-1A plant provided steam and electricity to the Army post near Delta Junction off and on between 1962 and 1972. It was one of eight experimental projects to test the use of small nuclear power plants at remote installations. It’s expected to take about 10 years to plan, contract out and complete the SM-1A cleanup, according to a Baltimore-based team from the Army Corps of Engineers that came to Fort Greely for meetings last month. One particular challenge of decommissioning SM-1A is that the steam plant previously powered by the nuclear reactor is still in use, although today it’s powered by a diesel-fired power plant.

“As we go through the planning process and ultimately through implementation, safety of the workers is a No. 1 priority,” said Chris Gardner, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, in a telephone interview from Baltimore. “There will be a lot of coordination that will need to take place to minimize any impacts to the continued regular operation of the steam plant.”

Fort Greely was used mostly as a cold weather testing site in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1995, it was ordered shut down as part of a congressionally authorized nationwide base closure and realignment process. It was resurrected several years later, however, and since 2003 has housed most of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse missile interceptors, the country’s primary defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. The SM-1A plant was successful at powering and heating Fort Greely but was eventually deactivated because it was more expensive to operate than a conventional diesel power plant. When SM-1A shut down in 1972, the Army chose to place the facility into a safe storage status instead of formally decommissioning it. The highly enriched uranium fuel and waste were shipped out of Alaska and radioactive components of the reactor were encased in cement. The Army chose this temporary method of mothballing the facility out of hope that within a relatively short amount of time significant quantities of radioactive waste would decay to a safer nonradioactive state, according to an Army Corps of Engineers website about the SM-1A at bit.ly/2G7TjVH. Later studies showed that the volume of radioactive waste wasn’t decreasing as expected and that a more hands-on approach was needed to clean up the plant. The increasing costs of nuclear waste disposal also motivated the Army to begin cleaning up the site. There’s no estimate yet for the cost of decomissioning SM-1A, but such a project for a similar power plant has a budget of $66.4 million. A timeline for the project indicates a request for proposals will be sent out by 2021, with a contract awarded in 2022. The actual cleanup work is expected to take about five years. The Corp of Engineers is decommissioning other experimental nuclear power plants at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and aboard the Sturgis, a former World War II Liberty Ship in Galveston, Texas, that was made into a floating nuclear plant and used in Panama in the 1960s and 1970s. See the Army Corps of Engineers website for more about the Fort Greely nuclear power plant.


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PostPosted: May 28, 2018 2:23 am 
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Any army should logically be free of nimby thinking and take decisions only on merit. Accordingly the army should
A. Continue building reactors only changing fuel to thorium-leu or thorium-plutonium.
B. Use now idle nuclear testing sites for reprocessing used fuel and burying the fission products in bore-holes.


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PostPosted: Jul 23, 2018 1:09 pm 
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Remembering Antarctica’s nuclear past with ‘Nukey Poo’

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Between 1961 and 1972 McMurdo Station was home to Antarctica’s first and only portable nuclear reactor, known as PM-3A, or “Nukey Poo.” The little-known story of Nukey Poo offers a useful lens through which to examine two ways of valuing the far south: as a place to develop, or a place to protect.


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PostPosted: Jul 23, 2018 8:48 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Remembering Antarctica’s nuclear past with ‘Nukey Poo’

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Between 1961 and 1972 McMurdo Station was home to Antarctica’s first and only portable nuclear reactor, known as PM-3A, or “Nukey Poo.” The little-known story of Nukey Poo offers a useful lens through which to examine two ways of valuing the far south: as a place to develop, or a place to protect.


Is Nukey Poo an actual nickname by the people who were stationed in Antarctica with the reactor, or something added by anti-nuclear folks?

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Correction, it appears to be self-applied by the op crew, as they were under the Naval Nuclear Power Unit, which was under the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. NNPU appears to be the source of the “Nukey Poo” nickname.


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PostPosted: Aug 30, 2018 12:43 pm 
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US Army bases install more solar panels, despite Trump scepticism

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The US Army has increased its investments in solar power and is eyeing further opportunities to work with the private sector to develop projects, despite the Trump administration’s scepticism about renewable energy. Michael McGhee, who leads the US Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives, told the Financial Times that installing solar panels at army bases could improve resilience against attacks or natural disasters, and provide cost-effective electricity supplies. “We are required to be ready no matter what the circumstances,” he said. “What we are looking at when we see renewables is a self-resupplying power source.” President Donald Trump has suggested he is unenthusiastic about solar power, describing it in 2016 as “very expensive”, and his administration’s energy policy has focused on attempts to revive the coal industry. The US military, including the army, has continued to invest in renewable energy, however, including solar power and biofuels, working with private companies to minimise costs. The army added about 94 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the fiscal year to September 2016, increasing its total by 59 per cent. It said last year that it expected to add about 100MW more in fiscal 2017. Mr McGhee said the army had been made “acutely aware of the vulnerability of the power system” by the problems at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, when the local power grid was hit by tornadoes in 2011. The base, a centre for the army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, lost most of its electricity and faced severe disruption to its communications systems. Loss of power from grid connections is a common problem at US bases. In the fiscal year 2016, there were 701 interruptions to energy and water utility supplies that lasted eight hours or longer at US defence department installations, mostly affecting electricity supplies. With power grids facing threats from cyber and physical attacks as well as extreme weather, the army is seeking to provide resilient local electricity supplies for more of its bases. A 10MW solar power system with a 1MW battery back-up was installed at Redstone Arsenal earlier this year by SunPower, the US company part-owned by Total, the French oil group. The army expects the system to save money, by cutting the power the base buys from the grid at peak times, as well as improving resilience. SunPower has also installed solar systems at US navy and air force bases in Nevada and California. The US Army this year opened a 50MW power plant at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The plant, which can run either on imported diesel or biodiesel produced locally, was built under agreement with the utility Hawaiian Electric. In normal conditions it will be used to for the island’s grid, but in emergencies such as a hurricane it will provide dedicated power for the barracks and a local hospital and airfield. As the price of battery storage fell it was becoming more affordable, Mr McGhee said. However, he added, the army still faced budget constraints, and was looking for innovative financing structures such as providing land for joint projects with private companies.


I worked on Redstone Arsenal for 10 years, both at NASA MSFC and at Army SMDC. After starting Flibe, I worked with the garrison commander at Redstone shortly after the April 27 tornadoes, which were devastating. The decision to use solar didn't come from local leadership. It was mandated from Washington, from civilian appointees at the Pentagon under the Obama administration, mostly people who didn't care about the Army's mission and still don't. "Just a job" to them, or rather, just another stepping stone on their career advancement. Most of these civilian appointees hated the military and only saw value in how they could use it to advance their latest "social engineering" experiments, be they "green power" or some modification to the Army's personnel policy.

The garrison commander was much more interested in getting a LFTR to power Redstone rather than a bunch of solar panels that would be wiped out by the next tornado, but he basically had to salute and do whatever "Big Army" told him to.

Trump is right to be skeptical. These flimsy solar panels would be eviscerated if the tornadoes of 4/27/11 ever swept through Redstone Arsenal again.


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PostPosted: Sep 17, 2018 8:55 pm 
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Floating nuclear plant to be dismantled in Texas

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Crews in Galveston have completed work on a World War II-era military cargo ship that previously served as a barge-mounted nuclear reactor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that crews deactivated the former USS Sturgis' nuclear reactor and removed more than 1.5 million pounds (0.68 million kilograms) of radioactive waste, The Galveston County Daily News reported. The Sturgis was converted into a floating nuclear power plant in the 1960s. The U.S. Department of Defense decided in 2012 to dismantle the ship. The Sturgis had been stored in Virginia for decades before moving to Texas, where it's been moored at the Port of Galveston since 2015.

"Environmental monitoring has been continuous since prior to the arrival of the Sturgis in Galveston and no evidence of radioactive material, lead or increased radiation exposure from the Sturgis has been documented outside of the reactor containment area at any point during the project," said Brenda Barber with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ship will be towed to Brownsville later this month and then scrapped. The project was originally expected to take 18 months to complete, but was delayed when larger cranes were needed to be brought in to lift material from the vessel. The original contract estimated the project would cost about $35 million, but the delays and additional equipment increased the cost to $51 million. The Sturgis project had a $20 million positive economic impact in Galveston, Barber said.


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