Is the 2nd Missing Phipps Bend Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessel below the Ozarks?

2nd Missing Phipps Bend NUCLEAR Reactor Pressure Vessel’s Last Known Location: Memphis, TN

Documents indicate Chicago Bridge and Iron Nuclear fabricated the two massive reactor pressure vessels in Memphis Tennessee.  Unit 1 traveled by barge to Knoxville, where it continued on to Phipps Bend in a slow, widely publicized procession. There is video as well as photographic evidence of this event.(1)

We have no proof Unit 2 ever arrived to Phipps Bend.

Other nuclear reactor pressure vessels have travelled less conspicuously by water, not using overland transportation. The Journal News of White Plains New York reported a similar vessel travelled by ship to New Hampshire’s Seabrook nuclear plant. No roads were closed. No powerlines raised. No bridges reinforced. No traffic diverted. No miles of onlookers to gape at the monstrosity as it crawled slowly down the road.(2)

Let’s go back to the last known location of this missing reactor pressure vessel. Unit 2 was being built at North America’s largest waterway- the Mississippi River. The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi, and just as easily traversable by barge. The Arkansas River leads straight to the Ozarks and the Ozark National Forest, where there were numerous reports the federal government was building an H-bomb plant there.

The underground topography in the Ozark area is quite similar to that of northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and southeast Kentucky. Karst/limestone landforms, especially caves, many large and miles long, are abundant in the Ozarks.

Consider the follow article written by Inez Robb for Assignment America:

Ozark-cave-discussed-H-bomb

 

There seems to be a universal desire for a better ‘ole [hole] on the part of all us H-(for hapless) creatures in this H-bomb age.

Some people seem to feel this ‘ole has materialized in the Ozarks where a Mr. Lester Dill of Stanton, Mo. and his New York press agents hope, with a million dollar loan from Uncle Sam, to equip Mr. Dill’s 26-mile-long Ozark cave as a refuge.(3)

Another editorial, Our Daily Bread, opines:

our-daily-bread-ozark-cave-h-bomb

Anyone who went through the construction period on the Southwestern Proving Ground here isn’t going to have much stomach for another war plant–however much the state is intrigued by published reports that the government is considering establishing the proposed Hydrogen Bomb plant in the Ozarks.

None of us laymen know a thing about either the Atom or Hydrogen bombs except that the one is an accomplished terror and the other offers promise of being a greater terror yet to come. That’s why they are talking about a location in the Ozarks–there are plenty of caves up there, and caves would be useful in handling a dangerous manufacturing and storage operation such as the hydrogen bomb plant. (4)

Of course, other sites were in the running for this proposed H-bomb plant. It seemed that power generation for the proposed Ozark site was a concern to President Truman:

truman-talks-power-supply-h-bomb-ozarks

President Truman told Arkansas congressmen James Trimble and Wilbur Mills plainly:

…power supply is the determining factor, and to be very blunt about it, there have been some very shortsighted men in your state. They have deliberately held up vital power projects which are now essential for this plant.(5)

By 1952, President Truman was dedicating and touring two new hydroelectric dams in Ozark territory in Northern Arkansas. It would seem any concern with lack of sufficient power for the plant had been more than addressed.(6)

Just as I theorized the official announcement they had chose Alabama as the site for the nation’s future nitrate plant was disinformation to direct attention away from a secret facility at Cumberland Gap, so I wonder if the final announcement that South Carolina would get the H-bomb plant was also disinformation, intended to protect a secret facility located deep in the Ozarks?

TVA Says the Department of Defense Should Help Fund Phipps Bend’s Construction

From The Tennessean, July of 1981:

TVA leader [Charles] Dean said recently he believed the Defense Department should help fund construction of the nuclear plants so the power could [be] used to build atomic submarines.(7)

Did the 2nd missing Phipps Bend RPV ultimately become part of a secret nuclear submarine facility somewhere in northern Arkansas?

I interviewed a former worker for Chicago Bridge and Iron Nuclear, and he confirmed the second vessel was never shipped to Phipps Bend. He thinks it may have been cut up for scrap, but he cannot say for sure. He said at the time, several RPVs were being stored on site in Memphis.(9)

I followed the footsteps of a second Chicago Bridge and Iron Nuclear worker, whose specialty was reactor pressure vessels. One year after the completion of the second Phipps Bend RPV, he left CB&I to perform inspections on a new power plant construction (1982). The name of the plant is not indicated. Then for the next thirty years he is a senior project manager with a large, worldwide nuclear services outfit. The only problem is, this nuclear outfit has no facilities anywhere near this gentleman’s home base: Jonesboro, Arkansas. Jonesboro is approximately 60 miles from the Ozarks.

Interestingly, I found several career listings in Bay, Arkansas, for mechanics to support nuclear weapons security missions. Even though the jobs are listed under Arkansas (not far from Jonesboro), it indicates applicants will be at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia. The company behind the job listings does not appear to have any facilities in the Bay, Arkansas area. So why are the jobs listed geographically for the Ozark region?

Consider this newspaper article from May of 1942:

submarines-in-mississippi

In July 1951, Congress authorized the first nuclear submarine to be built.

There was already a naval submarine plant accessible to the Mississippi River in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.(8)

Could the Mississippi River and the Ozarks be part of a production line for the construction of naval nuclear submarines? Compartmentalization is key to the success of government defense programs. 1.) Construct the submarines at one location. 2.) Build their power supplies at another. 3.)Store/produce weaponry at another location 4.)The submarine travels down the production line until completed and ultimately sent to its destination.

The idea that there is a supply chain across the eastern United States for our nuclear naval submarines was first presented to me by a colleague. I cannot claim credit for this theory. This colleague went through great hardship attempting to ascertain the truth; understandably, he may not want to return to this research. But he does deserve recognition for this theory, even if I cannot identify him by name. Thank you, W, and I’m very sorry for what you went through.

(1) “Outdoors” by Mark Aldeen. Daily News. March 18, 1977.

(2) “Atomic power protest ends in 180 arrests.” The Journal News. March 10, 1979.

(3) “Ozark cave discussed as an H-Bomb refuge.” St. Petersburg Times. March 22, 1950.

(4) “Our Daily Bread.” Alex Washburn, editor. Hope Star. August 19, 1950.

(5) “Choice of H-Bomb site narrows to three.” The Evening Independent. August 16, 1950.

(6) “Presidential Pathways.” arkansas.com.
http://www.arkansas.com/!userfiles/presidential_pathways.pdf

(7) “TVA stall in curbing N-program reported costing $2-$4 billion.” The Tennessean. July 31, 1981.

(8) “Submarines Float Down the Mississippi.” The Montana Standard. May 28, 1942.

(9) Personal phone conversation. Source identity protected. May 17, 2016.

 

1950: Nuclear Facility to be Placed in an Arkansas National Park

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 8.02.44 AM
Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 8.02.56 AMMany dismiss the theory that the federal government would place a nuclear facility within a national park. After reading the 1950 newspaper article at left, I am even more convinced there could be such a facility at Cumberland Gap National Park.

 

The above article is taken from the Hope Star, an Arkansas newspaper, in August of 1950. Congressman Boyd Tackett has indicated that northern Arkansas would get an H-bomb plant. Although there is no formal announcement from the Atomic Energy Commission, Tackett said “his information came from that source.”  Tackett said “the plant would be situated either in the Ouachita National forest or the Ozark National forest.

Tackett said, “Arkansas has been selected as the proper area…because it has the necessary requirements.”

This story echoes the story of the munitions facility I believe was constructed at Cumberland Gap; the experts recommended the best suited place for the plant yet, in the end, their advice was supposedly unheeded.

The following article details the region’s frustration:

“Several months ago it was announced the government would build a large hydrogen bomb plant in the heart of the Ozarks…It was pointed out the plant would be located in the interior of the country, safe from possible attack from either coast. It would not be possible, it was declared, for an enemy plane to penetrate that far into the interior, or to inflict important damage on this important facility.

But the plans have changed, and instead of being located in this comparatively safe region the plant is to be built in the Savannah Valley, only minutes by air from the Atlantic coast. The proposed plant would be an easy target for enemy bombers.” (2)

The author laments  that “politics” were the reason the plant location was changed; the Democratic party needed their southern voter numbers up. The author believes this was a move to win favor with those voters. I vehemently disagree. The likelihood the plant was installed there all along is a reasonable theory.

Just as President Wilson possibly visited a secret munitions facility at Cumberland Gap in 1918, did Truman visit a newly completed nuclear facility hidden in the Ozarks in 1952?

Truman may have visited secret nuclear base in the Ozarks in 1952
President Truman visited the Ozarks in 1952, officially to dedicate two dams. Did he visit a secret nuclear facility in the region as well?(3)

 

(1)”Tackett says state to get H-bomb plant.” Hope Star, August 26 1950.

(2)”Party must be served.” Terre Haute Star. December 14, 1950.

(3) “Presidential Pathways.” arkansas.com.
http://www.arkansas.com/!userfiles/presidential_pathways.pdf

Elevated Amounts of Chromium and Manganese Found in Gap Creek, Tennessee

There are some eye-raising National Park Service water quality reports from the 1990s concerning Gap Creek, which flows through Cudjo’s Cave (or, Gap Cave).

Chromium was found in the creek in measurements up to 70 ug/L (which is equivalent to 70 parts per billion) between the years 1991 to 1996.(1) This is nearing the EPA’s maximum contaminant level (MCL) for chromium in drinking water, which is 100 ppb.

The National Park service tells us that:

Rivers once flowed through the upper chambers of Gap Cave–and Gap Creek still flows through the lowest level of the cavern. Water flowing from the cavern was used to power several mills and the machinery at the Cumberland Iron Furnace in the 19th century. The creek was dammed inside the cave in the 1800’s to create a reservoir that still supplies the towns of Cumberland Gap and Harrogate, Tennessee with drinking water.(2)

When contaminant levels are approaching the maximum levels set by the EPA, and the water supply is a source of community drinking water, it would be reasonable to expect the continued monitoring of contaminant levels in Gap Creek. However, Jennifer Beeler, the Cumberland Gap National Park’s Resource Management Specialist, indicated the water quality reports stopped when the Tunnel construction ended:

That work was done during the tunnel construction with funding from that particular construction project.  After the tunnel was completed that degree of funding for water quality work was no longer available.  We do basic water quality work each month like e. coli, temp, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, ph, turbidity etc, but that is it right now.(3)

Remember when the Middlesboro Tannery was blamed for chromium found in Yellow Creek? Interestingly, it would have been impossible for the tannery to contaminate Gap Creek:

Gap Creek on the TN side of the park comes from Gap Cave, flows through the town of cumberland Gap than Tiprell and then eventually empties into the Powell River.  Little Yellow Creek in the park goes into Middlesboro, flows into Yellow Creek and then eventually into the Cumberland River.  So the two are not connected at all.(3)

Another possible contaminant of concern in Gap Creek is manganese. Overexposure can be responsible for symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease, most notably muscle tremors and other neurological damage. Manganese toxicity can also be misdiagnosed as Lou Gehrig’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Children are especially susceptible to manganese toxicity. Currently, the EPA has established a “health advisory level” of .3 mg/L, or, 3 parts per million. However, in 1996, a report by the EPA,

in developing an oral reference dose for manganese based on dietary intake, mentions an epidemiological study in Greece that showed an increase in neurologic effects such as weakness and fatigue, disturbances in gait, and neuromuscular effects, in people whose drinking water contained 1.6 to 2.3 mg/L.(4)

The water quality reports for Gap Creek, where the communities of Cumberland Gap and Harrogate obtain their drinking water, show up to 210 parts per billion, or, .21 mg/L on December 1, 1991 and 270 parts per billion, or, .27 mg/L, manganese on March 23, 1993.(1)

 

(1) STORET Central Warehouse, EPA.
https://ofmpub.epa.gov/storpubl/storet_wme_pkg.Display_Station?p_station_id=CUGA_CPSU_GC4&p_org_id=11NPSWRD

(2)Cave Handout, National Park Service.
https://www.nps.gov/cuga/learn/nature/upload/cave-handout2.pdf

(3) Email communications, June 23 2015, with Jennifer Beeler, National Park Service.

(4) Drinking Water Notification Level for Managanese, California EPA State Water Resources Control Board.
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/Manganese.shtml