Greenland defrosting may uncover Cold War relics of a top-secret military facility built by the US in 1959. The site was intended to test nuclear missiles, and it was decommissioned seven years later when the base was abandoned.
Cold War Relics from Camp Century
It seems that the military just left everything there, assuming that the snow will make it completely inaccessible. In the ‘60s, not so many believed in global warming. Nonetheless, now the ice is melting, threatening to uncover the military base and all its secrets.
A new study on climate changed showed that the ice sheet over the Camp Century from Greenland would begin to melt in the next 50 years. The melting will release the chemical, radioactive and biological waste into the environment and it could disrupt the ecosystem.
The responsibility for the camp could be hard to be determined, as political issues may rise. Half of century ago, the governments were leaving out waste anywhere in the world. The global warming is now uncovering all that waste, and a new strategy must be deployed to handle the situation.
Greenland during the Cold War
The Cold War made the US military to focus their attention to the Arctic, which was the shortest point to the former Soviet Union. A treaty signed in 1951 provided that the US would help Denmark to defend Greenland from Soviet attacks. The same year, the US built several air bases in Greenland.
Camp Century was constructed eight years later, 125 miles off the coast of Greenland. The facility was completely encased into the ice sheet, and it was known as the “city under the ice.”
The official purpose was to test construction techniques in the Arctic. It hosted up to 200 soldiers and scientists, and it used a nuclear reactor for energy.
Another purpose of the site was to test a nuclear missile launch site that would be close enough to hit the Soviet Union, a system that would have been able to deploy 600 nuclear weapons.
The Danish government did not know at the time about the Project Iceworm. In seven years, the project was rejected and the camp decommissioned. Even if the engineers removed the nuclear reaction chamber, the infrastructure and the waste was left behind.
The camp was buried under 115 feet of snow, but now the scientists believe that all it will be revealed and carried into the ocean by the melting ice.
The site would contain 53,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 63,000 gallons of waste water, polychlorinated biphenyls and radioactive coolant, which may all end up in the waters by 2090.
Image Source: Wikipedia