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America's Secret Underground Ice Fortresses

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the beneath-the-mountains-of-madness dept.

The Military 134

Hugh Pickens writes "With the advent of long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 1950s, it was inevitable that military attention would be drawn to remote but strategic arctic regions. Now Defense Tech reports on Project Iceworm — America's secret cold war plan to build a network of underground missile bases under the Greenland ice cap capable of launching 'Iceman' ICBM missiles at Russia. The first base, 'Camp Century,' built 800 miles from the North Pole, contained 21 steel-arch covered trenches; the longest of which was 1,100-feet long, 26-feet wide and 26-feet high. The massive base, constructed to house 200 troops, was officially built to conduct scientific research. But the real reason was apparently to test out the feasibility of burying nuclear missiles below the ice, since Greenland is so much closer to Russia than the ICBM fields located in the continental U.S. If fully implemented, the project would cover an area of 52,000 square miles with clusters of missile launch centers spaced four miles apart. New tunnels were to be dug every year, so that after 5 years there would be thousands of firing positions, among which the several hundred missiles could be rotated. Camp Century was powered by a portable nuclear power plant designated PM-2A, the first of the U.S. Army's portable reactors to actually produce power, and was rated at two megawatts of electrical power, also supplying steam to operate the well that provided water for the troops. The Army team assembled the prefabricated reactor in 77 days, and just nine hours after fuel elements containing forty-three pounds of enriched Uranium-235 were inserted into the reactor, electricity was produced. Maintaining the tunnels at Camp Century required time-consuming and laborious trimming and removal of more than 120 tons of snow and ice each month. The camp, begun in 1959, was abandoned for good in 1966 and it is anticipated that the Greenland icecap, in constant motion, will completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of the coming years."

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134 comments

cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619023)

that sounds like an awesome lair for an evil villain :)

Re:cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619039)

*Very* cool.

Re:cool (3, Interesting)

Beriaru (954082) | about 2 years ago | (#39619215)

During the reactors operational life, a total of 47,078 gallons of radioactive liquid waste was discharged into the icecap.

Not so cool.

Re:cool (-1, Troll)

joocemann (1273720) | about 2 years ago | (#39619321)

This was fr your own good. Learn to appreciate the blunt, unchecked, self-justified actions from the more guns less butter government.

Cut MILITARY SPENDING TO REASONABLE LEVELS. SAVE A COUNTRY, CUT RIDIC MILITARY BUDGETS.

Re:cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619673)

I don't think Riddick would enjoy having his budget cut.

Re:cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619705)

Considering that the current USA government budget is so broken that you could cut EVERY PENNY of military spending, AND ALL OTHER forms of discretionary spending, and there would STILL be a large budget deficit ...

I appreciate the need to keep military spending to reasonable levels. But budgets aren't balanced by cuts to one area alone, and the USA's is no exception. Every government spent dollar needs to be on the table, regardless of prior obligation.

Butter kills more people than guns. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620641)

In the USA, butter kills more people than guns.

Typical annual deaths from heart disease and diabetes: 665,000

Typical annual deaths from guns: 30,000 (Includes justifiable homicide, murder, suicide, accidents)

You know what that means: SAVE AMERICA! BAN BUTTER NOW!

Re:Butter kills more people than guns. (2)

sunspot42 (455706) | about 2 years ago | (#39621067)

Butter doesn't cause diabetes. And any link to heart disease is dubious at best.

Re:cool (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#39621591)

With half life on the most radiactive isotopes being few seconds to a few years, it's not really all that radioactive anymore. That's the good thing about radioactive waste - it destroys itself over time.

Re:cool (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619101)

Or a bunch of rebels. ;)

Re:cool (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39619213)

It could be smugglers. There are so many uncharted settlements.

Re:cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619429)

Just don't exit hyperspace too close to the system. If you did, you'd be as clumsy as you are stupid.

Re:cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619829)

Hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star, or bounce off a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?

Re:cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621397)

Womp rats, etc. etc.

Re:cool (2)

IcyNeko (891749) | about 2 years ago | (#39620299)

Perhaps there's a chair which powers a millenia old weapons platform. Better call MacGuyver to control it.

Truth, fiction, stranger than (4, Funny)

Bookwyrm (3535) | about 2 years ago | (#39619055)

I must admit, the first thought that came to my mind when reading this is, this sounds like a great setting for some spy thriller or such. I mean, an abandoned military base with launch silos, its own nuclear power, and slowly being destroyed by encroaching ice?

The perfect location to have the mastermind's base located in. At the end, the heroes have to race out of the base as it is finally being destroyed by the ice.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (2)

Lluc (703772) | about 2 years ago | (#39619095)

Maybe we can combine this with the preposterous scenes from The Day After Tomorrow where a wave of cold air chases the main characters down a hallway, freezing those who can't keep up! :)

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#39619899)

You can defeat cold air by burning books in an old fireplace that has been sealed up for 70 years.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619177)

From TFA: "Related Stories Yes, Moses flew to Japan on a spaceship and died there."

Strange indeed...

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (5, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | about 2 years ago | (#39619189)

Having done construction work in polar regions [gdargaud.net], I can't imagine how much money and energy must have gone into that thing. Cool, yes, but how much useful, peaceful scientific research could have been conducted there for the same budget ?!? Compare to now where instead instead of wasting it on useless and scary bombs, we waste it on useless and scary traders. Hmmm.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (0)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 2 years ago | (#39621617)

Having done construction work in polar regions [gdargaud.net], I can't imagine how much money and energy must have gone into that thing. Cool, yes, but how much useful, peaceful scientific research could have been conducted there for the same budget ?!? Compare to now where instead instead of wasting it on useless and scary bombs, we waste it on useless and scary traders. Hmmm.

A more contemporary question is how much peaceful scientific research could have been conducted in the US for the cost of military operations in Afganistan and Iraq.

My car could be driving itself by now...

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (1)

Zot Quixote (548930) | about 2 years ago | (#39619339)

Actually, the visuals don't just invoke Empire. Really the original 'The Thing' from the 1950s (based on the John Campbell short story from the 40s) has a shot that looks much like the first one. And I suppose Aliens vs. Predators used a setting that wasn't such a far cry from this as well.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#39619723)

I must admit, the first thought that came to my mind when reading this is, this sounds like a great setting for some spy thriller or such. I mean, an abandoned military base with launch silos, its own nuclear power, and slowly being destroyed by encroaching ice?

The perfect location to have the mastermind's base located in. At the end, the heroes have to race out of the base as it is finally being destroyed by the ice.

Sounds thrilling... "We have just 5 to 7 years to get out of these tunnels before the glacier shifts and destroys them! Oh no! I tripped! I won't make it! Go on without me!"

You are going to need to add radioactive mutant soldiers and the threat of direct nuclear attack into the mix before you get off the ground with that idea.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 2 years ago | (#39619855)

What, are you Doctor Evil's henchman, with a steam roller barreling down on you?

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620155)

We have just 5 to 7 years to get out of these tunnels before the glacier shifts and destroys them!

Unless, of course, you have arrived at the end of that seven year period and the ice is only a few micrometres away from buckling the walls. Not so much fun now, eh?

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620533)

Alistair Mclean: Ice Station Zebra.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621191)

In the mystery/horror PC game, "Penumbra", the main character was exploring something like this, though it didn't have missiles. In the game, the base had been created by the British military.

Re:Truth, fiction, stranger than (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#39621477)

Actually it is a reference to the movie In the Loop where the name of the informant for the intelligence gets changed from Iceman to Debussy. "You think that's his real name? Iceman? To Mr. and Mrs. Man, a son... Ice?"

Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream? (5, Funny)

bacon.frankfurter (2584789) | about 2 years ago | (#39619063)

I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Misleading Summary...As Usual (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619073)

"...The camp, begun in 1959, was abandoned for good in 1966 and it is anticipated that the Greenland icecap, in constant motion, will completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of the coming years."

From TFA: "Camp Century was abandoned for good in 1966. The Greenland icecap, in constant motion, would completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of several years."

I.e. the tunnels would be destroyed over the next several years following 1966. Which was over 40 years ago. These tunnels are gone. TFA even pretty much says as much: "Today, it is likely that most of Camp Century has been reclaimed by the ice."

No (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#39619561)

They were still in use in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"

Which was in 2003.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620501)

Wrong and wrong.

The Siberia shots from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were done in Iceland (outdoor shots) and at Pinewood Studios in England (interior sound stages), not Greenland.

And that movie came out in 2001, not 2003.

Re:Misleading Summary...As Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620273)

I'm pretty sure that Hugh Pickens is a power-poster, and the editors like samzenpus just scan his submission feed for things to publish... much tidier that way, not having to deal with regular unwashed Slashdot users and their submissions.

Inconceivable (4, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | about 2 years ago | (#39619075)

friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, in Greenland? - Vizzini

I understand Fezzik so much better now.

Killed by miniaturization, I assume? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39619087)

While it scores virtually infinite cartoon-supervillain points(seriously, a massive, ever-expanding labarynthine nuclear-powered ice fortress?), I have to imagine that the cost/benefit got a lot less exciting once the more prosaic 'lots of nuclear submarines sneaking around, also we can use them to attack ships, in a pinch,' strategy became viable.

Incidentally, for anybody who likes our dread overlord Cthulhu, and wishes to be eaten first, this sounds like something ripped straight from A Colder War [infinityplus.co.uk]...

Re:Killed by miniaturization, I assume? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619241)

While it scores virtually infinite cartoon-supervillain points(seriously, a massive, ever-expanding labarynthine nuclear-powered ice fortress?), I have to imagine that the cost/benefit got a lot less exciting once the more prosaic 'lots of nuclear submarines sneaking around, also we can use them to attack ships, in a pinch,' strategy became viable.

Incidentally, for anybody who likes our dread overlord Cthulhu, and wishes to be eaten first, this sounds like something ripped straight from A Colder War [infinityplus.co.uk]...

Seems to me like even with the advent of missile subs those tunnels could still have served as a hideout for World Leaders (tm) from our side of the political spectrum if the worst had happened...

Just to show off what a pedant nitpicking jerk I can be, I'd like to comment that using a missile sub to attack other ships is like the mother of all no-no's of missile sub handling; you want those hugely valuable babies to stay as hidden as possible, no matter what may come.

Re:Killed by miniaturization, I assume? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39619301)

Using them in some sort of Das Boot "man the torpedoes!" role does seem counterproductive(if they even have the hardware for it...); but I have to imagine that carrying a few tactical nuclear missiles of modest range and yield would give you the ability to really fuck up a carrier group's day in relative safety.

Re:Killed by miniaturization, I assume? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 years ago | (#39621991)

Most of the boomers switched to a mostly-non-nuclear cruise missile payload a while back, just so we could get some use out of them. Not sure whether those missiles had any anti-ship capabilities.

I wonder what the boomers are up to htese days, as the march of time has made launching cruise missiles from hiding on the first night of the war a lot less useful than in the days of the First Gulf War.

Re:Killed by miniaturization, I assume? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#39621049)

While it scores virtually infinite cartoon-supervillain points(seriously, a massive, ever-expanding labarynthine nuclear-powered ice fortress?), I have to imagine that the cost/benefit got a lot less exciting once the more prosaic 'lots of nuclear submarines sneaking around, also we can use them to attack ships, in a pinch,' strategy became viable.

SSBN's were half the solution, land based ICBM's with the range to reach the USSR from CONUS was the other.

vicitim of soviet h-bombs (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39619091)

The camp, begun in 1959, was abandoned for good in 1966

Its a victim of soviet h-bomb development. The planning phase was "more or less" before decent soviet h-bombs (around 1960-ish) so everything was too close together, and/or proper spacing in a h-bomb era would make it unscalable. It would have worked pretty well as designed in a pre-h-bomb environment.

Before someone gets all excited about the timelines, a rather large military project like h-bomb deployment is not done like software, where you begin distribution as soon as a beta version complies... I'm well aware they did a tech demonstrator in the early 50s and had a reasonable device for testing by the Very late 50s... But it wasn't clear that this base would be pointless until the 60s, when it was cancelled.

Or just better missle technology (4, Informative)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#39619837)

The camp, begun in 1959, was abandoned for good in 1966

Its a victim of soviet h-bomb development. The planning phase was "more or less" before decent soviet h-bombs (around 1960-ish) so everything was too close together, and/or proper spacing in a h-bomb era would make it unscalable. It would have worked pretty well as designed in a pre-h-bomb environment.

It was common in the 50's for multiple competing solutions to be implemented in parallel before exhaustively studying whether any of them would work. No one was sure that ICBM's would really work so they also started work on supersonic bombers, nuclear powered cruise missiles, and, apparently a plan to put shorter range missiles closer to the enemy.

By 1960, Titan I was available with enough range to be launched from anywhere in the continental US. They made the case for a Greenland missile base less compelling, though presumably the IRBM's in Greenland could have been launched quicker. Starting in 1963, the Titan II could be launched immediately from the silos, eliminating the 15 minute pause at the surface for fueling. Building a ice base in Greenland must have seemed like a great deal of effort for no military purpose.

Hoth Base (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619107)

I saw a documentary on this, with ice tunnels, mobile reactors and power generators, secret ice bases... Oh yes, the Empire Strikes Back

But I didn't know the U.S.S.R. had giant four-legged robot death-machines.

Re:Hoth Base (2)

netwarerip (2221204) | about 2 years ago | (#39619331)

But I didn't know the U.S.S.R. had giant four-legged robot death-machines.

No, they stopped at 3-legged female weightlifters.

Interesting editing of the text from the article (4, Informative)

tilante (2547392) | about 2 years ago | (#39619133)

The blurb given here ends with "was abandoned for good in 1966 and it is anticipated that the Greenland icecap, in constant motion, will completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of the coming years" -- which makes it sound as if the tunnels still exist right now. The original article's text, though, says, "Camp Century was abandoned for good in 1966. The Greenland icecap, in constant motion, would completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of several years."

It then goes on in the next paragraph to talk about an expedition that went to look at the camp in 1969, and found that the camp was already extremely damaged, and notes that "Today, it is likely that most of Camp Century has been reclaimed by the ice."

I have to wonder if the submitter consciously altered this to make it sound as if it's still in good shape right now, thinking that a camp that someone could possibly occupy and use would generate more interest than one that's likely an unsalvageable mess now.

Re:Interesting editing of the text from the articl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621053)

Perhaps we can get some of the hippies to move over and Occupy Greenland.

NSA knows who reads Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619137)

America's Secret Underground Ice Fortresses

Thanks to Slashdot it's no longer a secret. You people are really starting to annoy the government. Yet another excuse to allow more H-1B Visa applications to be approved.

Wow, this generation sucks. (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 2 years ago | (#39619149)

So you're saying that we could once build an entire nuclear powerplant in 77 days and get it running within 9 hours... in an ice cave, in Greenland? If the people who did that could see us now, they'd insult our manhoods.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619187)

See what they could achieve with a decent, honest haircut?

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619393)

See what they could achieve with a decent, honest haircut?

Modern hippies wear decent clothing and have honest haircuts today, they eventually got tired of getting laughed at. However they still go mostly on emotion and good intentions, and not so much on logic and results.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619243)

It actually only takes 77 days to build a modern nuclear facility, the reast of the time is just spent filling out regulatory and safety paperwork.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (-1, Troll)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39619245)

That's very manly indeed... i.e. men have to do it, because women aren't dumb enough to do it.

War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.

-- George Orwell

Of course, only a sissy would notice that... while the manly alpha men just go ahead and follow the orders :P

The only worthy sons America ever produced are the ones who cursed her name and bit her tit. I just made that up, but hey. Fuck nationalism, fuck toys, fuck tools.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39619605)

The only worthy sons America ever produced are the ones who cursed her name and bit her tit. I just made that up, but hey. Fuck nationalism, fuck toys, fuck tools.

Sorry, but they are called sex toys and fuck machines.

Now, my question: I don't know much of nationalism as a fetish but, being listed together with the rest and the context of tit-biting, I sense it's equally pornographic - i.e. indecent and capable of high excitation leading to orgasm in those with predispositions to it; am I right?

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39619831)

Sorry, but I anticipated that kind of response and chose to ignore it before you even made it :P

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39620101)

Sorry, but I anticipated that kind of response and chose to ignore it before you even made it :P

Thanks. On this account, I'll be able now to sleep well tonight.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (3, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 2 years ago | (#39619633)

You completely miss Dr. Spork's point. He's talking about the ability to put the plan into action, not the quality of the plan. This may have been a bad plan, especially in hindsight, but their ability to execute it with efficiency should be applauded. That was also the same generation that brought us the U.S. highway system and put a man on the moon.

Today we can't even build a train - even if funding were approved it would probably take decades to bring a modern transportation system to the U.S. because of all the red tape. It doesn't matter if we have the resources to do great things if we don't even try to do them, if we have a system which misdirects the resources, or if the vast majority, such as yourself, preaches apathy.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (2, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39619897)

You completely miss Dr. Spork's point. He's talking about the ability to put the plan into action, not the quality of the plan.

So being able to put any old bullshit plan into action is manly? That goes for a "point"? Meanwhile, I'm deemed a troll haha.. IOW correct ^^

This may have been a bad plan, especially in hindsight, but their ability to execute it with efficiency should be applauded.

I could not disagree more. But in the spirit of peace, I'm not gonna invoke the Nazis on this. Even though they're kinda screaming for it.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619295)

So you're saying that we could once build an entire nuclear powerplant in 77 days

Ummm, no. They put together a prefabricated, small nuclear powerplant in 77 days.

You could at least read the summary.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619435)

"Tony Stark was able to build this [his generator] in a cave! With a box of scraps!"

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (3)

Beriaru (954082) | about 2 years ago | (#39619309)

It also says that after getting it running, the necessity of better shielding was discovered. Oh, and do not forget that the reactor discharged its radioactive liquid waste (47,078 gallons in total for 33 months) directly into the icecap. One has to wonder why they discontinued that type of portable reactors *rollseyes*.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#39619655)

It also says that after getting it running, the necessity of better shielding was discovered. Oh, and do not forget that the reactor discharged its radioactive liquid waste (47,078 gallons in total for 33 months) directly into the icecap. One has to wonder why they discontinued that type of portable reactors *rollseyes*.

Um... Greenland is sovereign territory of Denmark. Did the US get permission from the Danes to install this base? Are they going to pay for the cleanup of the waste?

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619355)

So you're saying that we could once build an entire nuclear powerplant in 77 days and get it running within 9 hours... in an ice cave, in Greenland? If the people who did that could see us now, they'd insult our manhoods.

Given that it was built in 1959 I'd say many of them are still with us. A lot of the regular troops involved were probably about 20, so they would be about 73 now.

Also keep in mind that this is the military. They don't have to be profitable, bend to public opinion, shutdown when a nuisance lawsuit is filed, etc. They also have a pretty good safety record with reactors to this day. The US Navy has been sailing nuclear powered ships for quite a while. Some of this generation's 20 year olds can/are pulling off the same amazing work that their grandfather's did.

Its the hippie types (including modern incarnations who have better clothes and haircuts) that use emotion rather than logic that get laughed at and have their manhood questioned, and well they've been laughed at since the 1960s when they appeared. So there is nothing really new in that regard either.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39620097)

Its the hippie types (including modern incarnations who have better clothes and haircuts) that use emotion rather than logic that get laughed at and have their manhood questioned

Yeah, that's not using emotion at all.

since the 1960s when they appeared

That's the thing, mindless drones have existed for EONS, and they've never been worth shit, indidividually or in total. They're also dumb pussies, generally, as demonstrated here. Logic, my ass. Clowns.

Face it. Going around and doing stuff other people tell you to do doesn't require a spine worth talking about -- rather realizing how fucking stupid the whole undertaking is, and how cynically you're being used, would.

"Using" emotion on topic of logic because, you know, I can afford it.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#39619379)

and by the late 1960's the USA was a toxic waste dump like china is today because people would build and screw the local communities. in the 1980's there was a smog haze over NYC that's not there today due to all the enviromental laws and advances in the last 40 years

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#39619849)

and by the late 1960's the USA was a toxic waste dump like china is today because people would build and screw the local communities.

BS. During that era and before, my grandfather worked at an industrial site with various nasty products that had to be properly captured, stored and removed. They did so conscientiously, before the 60s and the modern environmentalist movement. Besides being the law, there are also practical little details like the workers *and managers* of the plant knowing damn well that they could contaminate the local well water the town pumped into all their homes, the water that they and their families drank. Have their been tragic cases of pollution, yes, but they are the exception not the rule. Keep in mind that the companies and managers that do the "right thing" never make it to the nightly news.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

sunspot42 (455706) | about 2 years ago | (#39621179)

>BS

Uh, the Cuyahoga River, which flows through Cleavland, OH, caught fire in the 1950s and - famously - in 1969.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_River#Environmental_concerns [wikipedia.org]

I won't even mention the smog in Los Angeles, which was unimaginable by the late '60s. LA still has smog, but it's nothing like it was 40+ years ago, thanks to strict environmental regulations.

Tragic cases of pollution weren't the exception - in much of the country, they were the rule.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#39621819)

>BS

Uh, the Cuyahoga River, which flows through Cleavland, OH, caught fire in the 1950s and - famously - in 1969.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_River#Environmental_concerns [wikipedia.org]

I won't even mention the smog in Los Angeles, which was unimaginable by the late '60s. LA still has smog, but it's nothing like it was 40+ years ago, thanks to strict environmental regulations.

Tragic cases of pollution weren't the exception - in much of the country, they were the rule.

I think you are mixing up high profile with common. While there were certainly some industrial sites that intentionally polluted I do not think that was the norm back then. Cuyahoga is so famous because it was the exception, not a normal occurrence. Again, the guys who did things the right way don't get mentioned in newspapers or books.

As for LA smog. My understanding is that the smog is not so much of an industrial issue but mostly a personal automobile issue. A tragedy of the commons sort of situation where millions of individual people with cars add their little bit of pollution that accumulated and hovered over LA.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619569)

Imagine what they could've done in a cave... with a box of scraps.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619635)

Are you implying the technological prowess and innovation of previous generations was superior to now? Why are you ignoring today's miracles of science and engineering such as: World of Warcraft, 4chan, DRM, ubiquitous CCTV cameras, Facebook, phones that spy on you [slashdot.org] etc. Plenty to be proud of!

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

deblau (68023) | about 2 years ago | (#39619657)

That was Cold War mentality. When you go to sleep every night fearing that you might not wake up the next day because of a Soviet nuke, suddenly money and manpower are no object.

Times are thankfully a bit different now.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 2 years ago | (#39620967)

What's more impressive is that it could be dismantled in time without a huge incident. According to a recent /. story, most owners of nuclear plants in America never stopped to save up enough money to dismantle their reactors when those reactors reach the end of their lifetime.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#39621103)

So you're saying that we could once build an entire nuclear powerplant in 77 days and get it running within 9 hours...

No, it months to build the modules that made up the powerplant - the 77 days figure is for connecting the modules once they were built, assembled, tested, disassembled, and then shipped to Camp Century.
 
As far as getting it running in 9 hours... well, the exact times are classified but lets just say that submarine crews would have a pretty good shot at that record.

Re:Wow, this generation sucks. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#39621489)

So you're saying that we could once build an entire nuclear powerplant in 77 days and get it running within 9 hours... in an ice cave, in Greenland? If the people who did that could see us now, they'd insult our manhoods.

That's true. On the other hand, let them behold the power that the regulators and bureaucrats have achieved in the last 50 years and they would despair.

- - -
Killing Owls to Save Owls [nationalreview.com]
Environmentalists against the Environment [nationalreview.com]

io9 links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619161)

Can we stop linking to io9 in the stories ? I'm sure there are other websites talking about this, and io9 is just a pain in the *** to load and requires javascript to display the contents of an article.

I always wondered why it was called the Cold War (3, Funny)

cheesecake23 (1110663) | about 2 years ago | (#39619277)

Project Iceworm - America's secret cold war plan to build a network of underground missile bases under the Greenland ice cap

Now I know.

The Popular Mechanics cover artists planned this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619297)

I loved those magazines. Basically, each cover had something from a James Bond movie on the cover that would never be built.

Cover? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#39619313)

"project would cover an area of 52,000 square miles"

Hardly, since the bases were supposed to be spread apart by 4 miles or so. Perhaps the total would be spread out over 52,000 square miles, but surely it wouldn't actually cover anything like 52,000 square miles.

Re:Cover? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39619947)

"Thousands of launch points, hundreds of missiles."

It would take about 3000 equally spaced launch points to cover that area. Ambitious, sure. Cheaper than the Normandy invasion? Definitely.

Secret Scouting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619507)

It was so secret that they sponsored a contest with the Boy Scouts to spend "summer camp" under the ice. One scout from the U.S. and one from Denmark (Greenland is Danish).
gombessa.tripod.com/scienceleadstheway/id9.html

Very similar to South Pole Station (1)

decsnake (6658) | about 2 years ago | (#39619577)

Camp Century appears to have been very similar to the original South Pole Station built in 1956-1957 for the IGY by the US Navy, minus the nuclear reactor and the plan for the Dr. Strangelove missile complex.

The Navy did install a small nuclear reactor at McMurdo Station, which leaked, requiring a large chunk of the hill that it was located on to be excavated and hauled away for disposal.

Re:Very similar to South Pole Station (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39619971)

The Navy did install a small nuclear reactor at McMurdo Station, which leaked, requiring a large chunk of the hill that it was located on to be excavated and hauled away for disposal.

O.K. so, McMurdo is prime real-estate, and the disposal site is....?

If you asked the anglerfish, they would have preferred you make the Penguins grow little glowing balls on stalks, instead.

I wonder... (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | about 2 years ago | (#39619667)

Would the US government need to go to an ATM machine and input a PIN number in order to withdraw money to pay for its ICBM missiles?

Nukes in Greenland? (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 2 years ago | (#39619773)

So... Denmark was cool with that?

Re:Nukes in Greenland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39619969)

So... Denmark was cool with that?

No.

At least not officially.

Re:Nukes in Greenland? (3, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39619995)

Late 1950s... Denmark was about as politically relevant to the U.S. as the Netherlands were to Hitler.

Ice Station Zebra (0)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39620225)

Stuck North of the Arctic Circle for a night that lasts 6 months with Rock Hudson. No thanks.

alright geeeeee /. (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 2 years ago | (#39621107)

I would be the tenth person or so, if I pointed out that the summary author basically wrote "the tunnels will disappear in the coming years" while the article reads along the lines of "the tunnels disappeared in the years immediately following their creation".

But that's not what's important.

What's important, is that if the ice had NOT reclaimed the tunnels, they would still BE there.

Or, wait, that's actually not important. Well... there's radioactive ice, that's pretty cool.

Moon Base (1)

watermark (913726) | about 2 years ago | (#39621441)

Now we have time to build our secret moon base. Yesterday you would have told me we didn't have secret missile silos under Greenland.

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