Jul 21, 2021

The US Army tried portable nuclear power at remote bases 60 years ago – it didn’t go well

Posted by in category: nuclear energy

Part of a portable nuclear power plant arrives at Camp Century in 1960. Bettmann Archive/Getty ImagesIn a tunnel 40 feet beneath the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, a Geiger counter screamed. It was 1964, the height of the Cold War. U.S. soldiers in the tunnel, 800 miles from the North Pole, were dismantling the Army’s first portable nuclear reactor. Commanding Officer Joseph Franklin grabbed the radiation detector, ordered his men out and did a quick survey before retreating from the reactor.

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