Camp Century

Camp Century
Camp Century
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Date: 1959 through 1966

Location: Camp Tuto, Greenland

A long time aquaintance was at Camp Tuto, Greenland, The U.S. Army's Top Secret Arctic City Under the Ice, Camp Century, Greenland, from 1959 through 1966. Every now and again we would rehash old stories, places we have been or things we have done in our lives. I told him a few of mine, ones I thought either obscure or just interesting.

He trumped me big time on this one. He frequently chatted about his days in the army, in particular Greenland. About a base that was both huge, and underground. He questioned it's function in his ramblings and came out with the following story:

One day, late May of 1981. I asked my self a question: what on earth had they used that big facility for, and just abandoned it. I decided at that time I would learn everything there was to learn about the place.

Later that day, back on base, I spoked with some other old timers, and they told me tales about the Camp Century base under the ice. Approximately 138 miles east of Thule air base. The exact position was 77 deg. 10 min. N, 61 deg. 08 min. W. In the late 1950s, during the height of the Cold War, the US military constructed a secret base in the Arctic for research purposes. Camp Century, aka Project Iceworm, was a city under ice, according to the U.S. Army, a nuclear powered research center built by the Army Corps of Engineers under the icy surface of Greenland,

It was occupied from 1959 to 1966 under the auspices of the Army Polar Research and Development Center. Its climatically hostile environment was located a mere 800 miles from the North Pole. The site was chosen May 17, 1959. At 6180' above sea level, this flat plateau features a mean temperature of -10° Fahrenheit, recorded temperatures of -70° Fahrenheit, and winds exceeding 125 mph. The average annual snow accumulation is 4'.

As heating and electrical power they used a portable nuclear reactor, type PM-2A, Assembled at Camp Century, Greenland. World's first portable plant. The first operating crew of one officer and 18 enlisted specialists built the plant in 77 days. More than 1500 kw electricity plus 1,000,000 Btu/hr steam heat. Completed and operational at 8:52 A.M. on the morning of November 12, 1960.

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