Camp Century

Camp Century was located at 77N, 6180 feet above sea level on the Greenland plateau, 800 miles from the North Pole. In January, 1959, the Army signed a 4.5 million dollar contract with the American Locomotive Company (ALC) for a 10 MWt plant, dubbed PM-2A. ALC designed, built, and tested the plant in 16 months.

The plant comprised 27 blocks. In mid-summer of 1960, the blocks were shipped to Thule, sledded 150 miles north, and erected in 78 days. The total time from contract signing to the plant operating in one of the most inhospitable locations on the planet was 22 months.

In summer of 1964, Camp Century was shut down, PM-2A disassembled, and returned to the US. The ice cores taken at Camp Century have been instrumental in our understanding of past climate change.

Points to ponder:

  • Non-standard nuclear manufacturer.
  • Plant built entirely on assembly line.
  • Transported by ship in blocks to site.
  • Erection time measured in weeks.
  • Disassembled by reversing the process.