U.S. Army-built nuclear powered underground city completed, fully staffed by 1960: Project Iceworm

By Lexi Morgan | Intellihub

N.W. GREENLAND (INTELLIHUB) — Project Iceworm was the U.S. Army’s code name for the top-secret installation of mobile nuclear-capable missile launching pads beneath a well surveyed and completely flat ice sheet in Greenland.

Using a cover story, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kept Iceworm secret from the Danish government by publicizing the construction of a planned “research” facility named Camp Century.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) initiated the construction of Camp Century in 1959 after over a year of methodical planning and preparation.

During the camp’s construction, a bogus propaganda video was filmed to appease certain government figureheads and members of the general public. Although the video itself was real, it existed as a cover story to what was really being constructed — a large-scale underground city.

The city’s location was carefully chosen to be in a spot where the ice sheet deviated less than one degree in slope. The foundation for which the city would be built upon was perfectly flat which would minimize mistakes and speed up the construction process.

Workers would work around the clock and rotate in 10-hour shifts.

Supplies were transported 150-miles from Thule Air Force Base to a team of skilled Officers and a good size group of engineers and construction workers via aircraft and on 50 and 100-ton sleds that were pulled across the ice sheet by convoys of large Caterpillar tractors. The treks across the winter wonderland were known to Army personnel as “heavy swings.”

Working a heavy swing was brutal for most due to the freezing temperatures, wind shear, and the potential for sunburn, but men were fed well as rations were plentiful.

A three-mile-long road was constructed close to the camp in order to speed up the delivery of incoming supplies.

In one trip alone, before the nuclear reactor “went critical,” twenty-five thousand gallons of diesel fuel was brought in which would power all of the local equipment for months to come.

All-in-all over 6000 tons of supplies were used during the construction process of Camp Century before it’s completion in 1959.

One of the most impressive features of the camp at the time was its nuclear reactor that would supply infinite power to the city’s future residents.

95 percent of the city was constructed underground. Using a tunneling process and then overlaying 40-foot arched steel sections of roofing which rested on a steel beam frame, the reactor building and other areas of the city were completed in record time.

Bricks were made out of the ice in some cases which would form non-structural walls in parts of the camp.

Camp Century layout (U.S. Army)

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Categories: History, Sci-Tech

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