National Geographic : 1962 May
NIGHT-the long, lonely polar night descends once more over a village on the far-off rim of Antarctica, a cluster ofhutsthatIknowaswellasIknowmy own home in Virginia. But, for the men at McMurdo Sound, this winter night will be unlike any other in Antarctic history. A nuclear power plant has been built on a bleak, rocky shoulder of Observation Hill The Author: Rear Adm. George J. Dufek, as Com mander U. S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica, headed the Navy's 1955-59 Operation Deep Freeze. In 1956 he led the plane crew that made the first landing at the South Pole. After his retirement, he became Director of the Mariners Museum at New port News, Virginia. 712 (pages 728-9), below the peak where stands a cross to Capt. Robert Scott's gallant South Pole party of 1912. Thus, if all goes well, the main U. S. Antarctic base will be supplied with light and power by atomic energy rather than by the diesel oil of the past. The saving in uncounted gallons of fuel - and in the huge cost of sending that fuel down there-marks a revolutionary step in polar exploration. Navy Seabees and representatives of the manufacturer, Martin Marietta Corporation of Baltimore, erected the reactor during the December-through-March Antarctic summer just past. Its name is PM-3A. PM stands for portable, medium-powered; 3 for the third such reactor design; A for field installation.