Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
More components of the nuclear power station wait to be unloaded from the USS Arneb.
In early November, 1961, the plant modules were loaded onto the USS Arneb in Rhode Island. On December 13, 1961, the ship arrived at McMurdo sound and began uloading on the ice.
© David Eldred
More nuclear components
All of the components of the nuclear plant were unloaded by December 29, 1961. The components were hauled over the ice on cargo sleds to the reactor site at McMurdo Station. Between January 1, and March 1, 1962 the plant was assembled and tested. On March 4, 1961 the plant was operational. Incredibly, the entire project had gone from Congressional approval to operation in 18 month - by today's standards, an amazing feat.
© David Eldred
Unfortunately, the nuclear power plant was not the answer to the station's needs that its proponents had hoped. The plant suffered several accidents and problems, from a fire in the containment tanks in fall 1962, to the coolant leak that sealed its fate in 1972. The plant was removed during the late 1970s.
Ships are moored to the ice by means of a deadman, a post about 4' long. A hole is chipped into the ice, narrow at the top, and wider at the bottom. The deadman, with a rope looped around its middle, is wedged sideways into the hole in the ice. When the hole is filled up with water, snow, and ice the deadman becomes a solid part of the ice sheet.
One of the crew's many jokes.
"Here lies the body of an Eastwind deadman, placed here to commemorate the last Operation Deep Freeze by veteran Arctic Antarctic explorer the Duke of Eastwind BM1"
Sunday, February 4, 2007
The main mission of Operation Deep Freeze was to deliver goods, supplies, and scientific equipment. Food, drink, building materials, power equipment, fuel - almost everything the station needed was delivered by ship. During the 1961-62 operation, the USS Arneb (AKA-56) carried what was supposed to be the answer to all of McMurdo's electrical power needs - a nuclear power plant.
Ships tied up and unloaded on the ice. Dozens of vehicles, from buldozers to Snow Weasels, some towing cargo sleds, made their way out onto the ice to bring the cargo back to the base. Over the course of several weeks, the contents of each ship was disgorged onto the ice, loaded on cargo carriers, and hauled to McMurdo.
Antarctic D-8s turn 50