Charlie Porter and Roger Hale both have stories of interest. Charlie lives in the shadow of several monster wind turbines, Roger helped to build the PM-2A at Camp Century.
Charlie Porter had a nice little horse farm in northwest Missouri. He now really wants to sell that farm and move away because his neighbors are driving him crazy. Those neighbors are 6 or 7 large wind turbines located about half a mile from his home. They provide an unpredictable background noise, sometimes screech to a halt, and produce annoying shadows, especially in the early morning or late evening.
Roger Hale is a retired Army mechanic living in North Carolina on a small farm near the Virginia border off of I-85. He had a remarkable career, and, as he says, he could tell stories for weeks about his time with the First Arctic Task Force in Greenland. Since none of us have weeks of time available, we limited our conversation to talking about the power supplies at the various base camps.
When Roger first arrived in Greenland, the camps all got their power from diesel generators supplied with fuel constantly being haul in and stored in “extremely large storage tanks.” (Roger’s words.) In October 1958, the US Army Corps of Engineers wrote up specifications for a pre-fabricated, transportable nuclear power plant and requested bids from two pre-screened companies – ALCO (formerly known as American Locomotive Company) and Martin. The companies submitted bids in December and the Army awarded the contract to ALCO in January 1959.
By July 28, 1960, the pre-fabricated and tested plant arrived in Thule, Greenland. On November 12, 1960 the PM-2A was providing power and heat to Camp Century, a small base in one of the most remote places inhabited by human beings. (Source for dates The Army’s Nuclear Power Program: The Evolution of a Support Agency by Lawrence H. Suid, Greenwood Press 1990.)
Listen to Charlie and Roger and think about the implications of their stories in a world dependent on fossil fuel energy sources that spew dangerous waste gases and come from increasingly more difficult to access reservoirs. The album art for this episode is a photo of the Ice Chapel that Roger described so vividly.