Warren Peak PM-1
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dbrockhouse
N 44° 28.695 W 104° 20.996
13T E 551698 N 4925197
Quick Description: This is the location of a "portable" nuclear power plant used to run a radar facility during the cold war.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 11/27/2017 8:16:47 AM
Waymark Code: WMX4WE
Views: 0

Long Description:
In the height of the Cold War, to provide warning of potential air or rocket attacks from the Soviet Union, the US and Canadian military established a network of radar stations as part of North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). Many of these radar sites were in extremely remote locations (like the northern edges of Alaska and Canada) where normal utilities, roads and other infrastructure did not exist. Moreover, these stations needed to be self-contained. The Air Force also wanted some of them to be "portable" so that they could be moved and installed at any point on the globe where they were needed. A problem the Air Force needed to overcome was how to provide reliable electrical power to these stations. One novel solution was to develop small nuclear generators. A prototype of such a nuclear powered radar station was installed on Warren Peak in 1961. It was called PM-1 (Portable Medium Power Plant). The station was operated by the 731st Radar Squadron as part of Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City. PM-1 had two cores that contained about 60 pounds of Uranium 235 shielded and cooled by 20 feet of water. The cores were somewhat smaller than a standard 55 gallon drum but they could generate 1,000 kw of power on a sustained basis. The Air Force estimated that using nuclear instead of fossil fuel saved about 1.1 million gallons of fuel oil per year, and thereby solved a major logistical problem. Moreover, the site was composed of 16 prefabricated sections that could be disassembled, transported, reassembled and made ready for operations within 90 days. The cores were removed when the site was decommissioned in 1968. One was buried in a facility for nuclear waste and the other was sent to power the McMurdo Sound base in Antarctica. The "Vista West" subdivision at the base of Warren Peak is actually what remains of the housing, administrative and service buildings of the former rader base that has now been turned over to civilian control.
Operational: No

Visitor Center: No

Year Built: 1/1/1961

Year Retired: 1/1/1968

Web Address: Not listed

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