1. Good feature!

    To this day I believe there are no nukes in Antarctica or Greenland anymore because these international treaties equate a “nuclear free zone” as somehow being a “peaceful” zone (to keep from deflowering a “pristine continent”?) thanks to a Hiroshima stigma.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. @James Greenidge

      The international treaties were signed before PM-3A was built. They do not prohibit nuclear energy; they prohibit nuclear weapons.

      I remain convinced that the reason that nuclear energy is discouraged is that there are people that LIKE getting paid to deliver massive quantities of fuel to remote regions. It is a good business; once the stations are built and manned, they need a continuous supply of fossil fuel. While most of us like the fact that a tiny quantity of uranium in a carefully engineered core can replace millions of gallons of fuel and last for eight years, the people that supply that fuel have a completely different point of view.

      1. I get that, the only thing is its been SO long and so many nations and organizations are camped out down there, it’s hard to believe none of them had a notion to plant a nuke plant to replace all those oil drums and soot and CO2 emissions wafting that so pristine environment, not even the Russians for Pete’s Sake — which fossil residues ran the risk of contaminating their Vostok borehole. Could it be as simple as oil and coal concerns in each those parties and nations discouraging nukes there? I ask myself, what groups would howl and whose pols would jump to their rant if anyone tried to plant a nuke down there today?

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

          1. What I meant about Australia & New Zealand. They wouldn’t want nuclear below their feet like that.

  2. Not so fast James. Russia will have floating SMRs in 2016.

    Energy and desalination services.

    Kashing !!!

    Isolated parts of China, Vietnam, Brazil, Turkey and thirsty and not so isolated part of Middle East countries are lined up.

    Way to go Russia. Way to go.

    1. A small nuclear reactor is certainly the way to go to provide heat and power for McMurdo Station. Getting fuel in is a dicey proposition. The tankers have to navigate around iceburgs, and need to wait until the winds are right so that the broken sea ice gets blown out of McMurdo Sound.

      Unfortunately, a floating SMR will not do the trick. The sea freezes every Winter in McMurdo Sound. A ship would likely be crushed by the ice.

      I spent a week total at “McMudhole” during the 1974-1975 season on my way to and from the field camp for the Ross Ice Shelf project. I found the large collection of oil tanks sited on the hills around the Station to be rather imposing. Even with a SMR, some tanks would remain to provide fuel for vehicles and aviation. It would be slick to have a nuclear powered source of heat and electricity that could replace the multi-thousand gallon fuel bladders used at the field camps.

    1. Nukes in Australia. Not in my lifetime I am afraid.

      They just got a new government and closed the ministry of science.

        1. @Rod – “Reality bats last”. I’ve never heard that one before Rod, mind if I steal that saying?

          1. @Gareth Fairclough

            It’s not an original. I stole it from a friend’s bumper sticker. He is a Sierra Club member, ardent environmentalist, 60s vintage hippy, Prius driver who thinks nuclear energy is great stuff.

            Feel free to use it.

          1. Patience, my friend. Human beings have been living and creating on this earth for many thousand of years. However, our history is getting started.

  3. I was listening to a radio interview this week end on energy.

    They were slamming Russia and China for selecting un democratic energy solutions.

    In the western world it is totally acceptable that marginal minorities pave the way to aristocratic choices that only the rich can sustain with heavy subsidies from the masses.

    I will skip democracy when it comes to energy. I call what China and Russia are ‘pushing’ visionary.

    Go to Peking now. Look up yo the sky. There is no sky.

  4. Everybody was better groomed back in the 50s- that’s enough electricity to run 1000 hair dryers!

  5. Does anyone doubt that the decision would have been different if the lead had been found just 18 months later?

    What, they misplaced their shielding?

      1. You have a QUERTY keyboard? No wonder the typos! Har. Yeah, I’m always mixing up my Ls and Ss, Ks and Ds.
        Plus, you tend to post at “0-dark hundred in the blessed AM.” (h/t Colonel Potter.)

  6. Jésus And a half. Dr Klein former NRC Chairman And pro nuclear, is speaking in no incertain terms on Indian Point.

    Getting back at yesterday’s comment from Dr J ? I think so.

  7. The interesting US Navy Final Report on McMurdo is here:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vbdr.org%2Fmeetings%2F2012%2FPresentations%2FMcMurdo_Station_Nuc_Reactor_Final_Report-Sec6-OCRed.pdf&ei=2ZZVUtP0F4GiiQK_kYBI&usg=AFQjCNEcnf3JYt2cPp6mA8hkGV3GqGrh0Q&bvm=bv.53760139,d.cGE
    What was really interesting to me is the section on “Personnel”. I found my own nuke career eventually crossed paths with two extremely capable McMurdo ex-nukes. But then, guess I’m dating myself.

  8. Nice find. I know someone who’s down at Palmer Station tonight, although I saw a story this morning that all Antarctica operations are being shut down due to the budget impasse. I guess that means he’ll be back home in a few weeks.

    Off topic, but I like that they mentioned ham radio in the film. There’s still a ham station at Palmer and my friend (who’s a ham) once got a phone call from the Johnson Space Center, asking him if he’d be interested in having a QSO (conversation, or contact) from the ISS, because one of the astronauts wanted to log a contact with Antarctica.

  9. The Russians do use some of their nuclear icebreakers in the Antarctic. One of them had been contracted to resupply McMurdo a year or so back, but the New Zealand government, which claims that sector of the continent, got conniptions and quietly pleaded with the Yanks to get an oil burner in instead. Shame, it would have been the first working vessel without a smokestack in New Zealand waters since the last visit of a USN submarine in the eighties. Any readers remember those visits?
    Scott Base, the New Zealand research centre just over the hill from McMurdo, built a small wind farm a few years ago. The wind there is pretty fierce,so I think they get a good capacity factor, and they share the power with McMurdo. Still plenty of oil getting shipped south though. Sounds like the government shutdown thing is throwing a big spanner into the works for the US Antarctic program at the moment.

    1. John ONeill
      October 10, 2013 at 7:04 AM
      The Russians do use some of their nuclear icebreakers in the Antarctic. One of them had been contracted to resupply McMurdo a year or so back, but the New Zealand government, which claims that sector of the continent, got conniptions and quietly pleaded with the Yanks to get an oil burner in instead.

      Isn’t it incredible that there aren’t any nuclear plants in such a hostile isolated region only because political panty-wads have tantrums over splitting atoms, but smoke and soot and CO2 and discarded oil drums are a-okay? There really is a Hiroshima syndrome!

  10. The Arctic is permanently inhabited and frequently visited; there are no native inhabitants who live in the Antarctic region, defined to be below 60 degrees south latitude.

    Way back Pan Am times on PBS a Sheraton guy said they’d liked to’ve put a hotel complex in Antarctica to corner the tourism and science support market there, but it’s considered an industry like coal is, and as such forbidden.

    1. Cruise ships to the Antarctic Peninsular are becoming a major industry. Based out of South America but I know one guy that commutes from New Zealand to work on the boats. They had one sink a couple of years ago.

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