I can’t explain why I am led down the paths I am, but I am blessed to have the time and means to explore some of the winding ways. I reluctantly understand I can’t possibly explore them all.
There is a war waging around us. A war between good and evil: humanity versus the Deep State. Kentucky’s been lost in the struggle. That’s why Delmar Partin rots in prison, a casualty of the battleground where these two forces collide. I know organized crime was behind the murder of Betty Carnes, the fruit of over two and half years of research and interviews. I know this group has been permitted to operate, unabated, for going on forty years, if not longer, with the blessing of prosecutors and law enforcement alike. How this happened is simple: once reputable law enforcement agencies were compromised by the infiltration of these bad guys into their ranks.
Due to these compromised officials, the lack of oversight and regulation, and the ability to hide underground in spaces that can rival the size of a small city, Kentucky, and the bordering regions of southwest Virginia and east Tennessee have become hallowed ground for the relationship between the Deep State and organized crime: Murder, Inc.
As always, you can contact me at email@example.com.
A few years ago I got to experience a special secret very few know about in the southeast Kentucky-southwest Virginia-eastern Tennessee region: a very old mine hidden by decades of grown up brush cut into the rock of Cumberland Mountain. I have no idea who owns the property now, but I will re-tell the story as it was told to me by the owner at the time. (Names are changed in the interest of protecting privacy.)
The property owner’s neighbor, Cédric, worked the mine decades ago. He claimed there was a seam of silver that was discovered to rise one inch a foot back in the mountain, and the seam went on for miles.
The mine was being worked in approximately the 1930’s. Whether the ore being mined was silver or another type of valuable material, it was special enough that the miners placed the ore into wooden boxes before carrying it out of the mine and loading it into covered trucks, as if to keep the material being mined a secret. It was even more mysterious that the covered trucks waited until the cover of night had settled in to travel to their destination, never leaving the mine before midnight.
One night, the mysterious miners packed up and left without explanation. No one ever came back until approximately 20 years ago, when the owner received a sole request for permission to re-open the mine, a request which he denied.
Cédric, the old neighbor who had worked the mine, was rumored to have possessed a special healing ability. If a person got hurt and was bleeding bad, all someone had to do was tell Cédric and he could stop the bleeding, whether the person was in his presence or not.
The owner himself lived in the same valley as a child at the time the mine was being worked. He disclosed that he, his brother and father saw what he reported as a “searchlight in the sky, making a big, wide circle around them.” They witnessed this light several times in the night sky during the 1930s and 1940s.
UPDATE: November 1, 2019
Ronald, a reader in Arkansas, wrote in recently about an old mine he found in his state that bears a striking resemblance to the one pictured above. Below is his photo and story:
“Hi. I found an almost identical mine shaft here in Arkansas. Legend has it that a man named Tobe Inmon came from Kentucky and made bullets from lead he mined in nearby hills. As it turns out, the lead was actually silver. People around here have been looking since the late 1800s and I recently found it. Notice the similarly in shape and size…”
1981: Did the U.S. trade A Phipps Bend nuclear reactor for the release of the U.S. embassy hostages in Iran?
The National Security Archive at George Washington University, Electronic Briefing Book No. 268 states:
“…two U.S. presidents dealing with the Shah of Iran, Ford and Carter, put concerns over proliferation and the Shah’s possible desire to build a nuclear bomb front and center when they approved negotiating positions for a deal to sell nuclear reactors to Iran.” (1)
We’re told the Iranian Revolution of 1979 killed the deal- but did it?
November 4, 1979: 52 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage, and held for 444 days. Remember, up until this crisis and the revolution, plans had been made to sell nuclear reactors to Iran.
Is it possible the U.S. was pressured to honor the original agreement? Did we send the second missing Phipps Bend reactor pressure vessel to Iran in order to secure the hostages’ release? We are given the fake news article about its arrival in Phipps Bend in June, 1981:
The Chicago Iron and Bridge worker interviewed in May of 2016 said he wasn’t sure what ultimately happened to the second vessel, but he did know it had not been sent to Phipps Bend. He said, “several RPVs were being stored onsite in Memphis” at the time.
Sending a nuclear reactor to Iran wouldn’t have been the most popular move an already unpopular President could have made. If this did happen, it well explains the lies and secrecy fed to the American public concerning the second reactor.
The U.S. had given Iran a nuclear reactor once before
In 1957, The United States and Iran signed the Atoms for Peace nuclear cooperation agreement:
“…an agreement that provides for technical assistance, the lease of several kilograms of enriched uranium, and cooperation on research on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” (3)
In 1967, the Tehran Nuclear Research Center is built:
“It has a 5-megawatt pool-type thermal research reactor supplied by the United States and is to be operated by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran…(In November) the reactor at Tehran Nuclear Research Center goes critical, using 93 percent enriched uranium supplied by the United States.” (3)
In the article, “How Iran became a “Nuclear State” by Jeremy Bernstein, the author states:
When the TRR (Tehran Research Reactor) initially needed new fuel elements it was shortly before the 1979 revolution, and the Iranians chose simply to replace the TRR with a new, safer model of reactor designed in part by Freeman Dyson and manufactured by the San Diego firm General Atomics, which they ordered and paid for. Before it could be delivered, however, the revolution came and General Atomics’ export license was revoked. (4)
Iran has now paid for a nuclear reactor it appears they won’t receive, in addition to paying an additional $400 million to the United States for military equipment prior to the 1979 uprising. But the nuclear reactor they paid for back in 1979 was never brought up again. Was this reactor a secret part of the 1980-1981 hostage negotiations?
“The major issue between the two governments was a $400 million payment for military equipment made by the government of the Shah of Iran, prior to the 1979 uprising that toppled him. The U.S. banned delivery of the jets and other weapons amid the hostage crisis, but froze the $400 million advance payment.”(5)
Notice the issue of the paid-for reactor they (supposedly) did not receive is not mentioned.
The Barack Obama administration repaid the $400 million 35 years later…in addition to $1.3 billion in interest. This payment happened to coincide with a new nuclear agreement with Iran and another hostage release, the five Americans held in Tehran:
The White House repeatedly insisted that the nuclear deal must be kept a separate issue from the cases of the detained Americans, but the nuclear talks have helped significantly open up avenues of communication between the two countries that had been little used since the U.S. cut ties in 1980. (6)
It’s almost as if Iran has learned how to make the United States keep its nuclear promises.
(1) The National Security Archive. “The Nuclear Vault: U.S.-Iran Nuclear Negotiations in 1970s Featured Shah’s Nationalism and U.S. Weapons Worries.” Burr, William., Jan. 13, 2009.
(2) The Kingsport Daily News. “Unit 2 on Way.” June, 1981.
(3) Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: the Real and Potential Threat. Cordesman and Al-Rodhan. The CSIS Press (Center for Strategic and International Studies.) 2006.
(4) “How Iran became a ‘Nuclear State.'” Jeremy Bernstein. The New York Review of Books. Feb. 19, 2010.
(5) “5 Things You Need to Know About the $400 Million America Sent to Iran.” Fortune.com. Shawn Tully. Aug. 5, 2016.
(6) “Iran releases 5 detained Americans, including Washington Post reporter.” Nahal Toosi. Jan. 16, 2016. Politico.
Update February 7 2019:
The former workers of Foote Mineral are BY LAW eligible for compensation under the EEOICPA. Until Washington does the right thing by these workers, this information is staying right here.
The Limestone Mine in Duffield Virginia
Back in 1952, Foote Mineral picked Sunbright, Virginia (a community very close to Duffield) to build the world’s largest lithium plant. One of the main reasons this location was chosen was due to the large reserves of high grade limestone located on site. Spodumene ore was shipped in from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, mixed with the limestone, and subjected to a chemical process in order to extract the lithium from the spodumene.
The limestone was mined using the room and pillar method. The result was large underground rooms that stretched for a reported 20 some miles. The temperature, being 200 feet underground, was a constant 55 degrees. One day, miners blasted into a cavern that contained a huge waterfall. This cavern was actually a back entrance into the mine at one time. Sediment buildup from running water has since reportedly made the connecting passageway too small to pass.
Allegheny Construction’s role at the former Foote Mineral site
Some time after Foote and its following successors left the Sunbright plant in Duffield, a company called Allegheny Construction stepped in and indicated their intent to reopen the limestone mining operations portion of the now abandoned property. (1) The limestone mining operations never materialized. But the name of one of Allegheny’s Construction’s chief company officers caught my eye: George Foresman.
George Foresman: A tangled web of D.o.D.contracting companies he does weave
George Foresman became the former Under Secretary of Preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security in 2005, then became the Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs at Homeland Security until he left in 2007, coincidentally the same year Allegheny Construction received their $6.83 million for an undisclosed facilities project.
(Other companies in which Foresman is involved: he is president of Highland Risk & Crisis Solutions, “a firm that assists corporations and government organizations in understanding and mitigating homeland and national security risks, both domestically and internationally.” (5) He is Director of Rivada Networks, LLC, another DoD contracting company. (6) He is also a member of the Strategic Advisory Group at Durango Group, LLC, a Colorado defense consulting firm where retired officers are “handsomely paid…to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts.”(8)
I ran into the caretaker of the abandoned Foote property a few months ago. My friend who I was with, mentioned to the caretaker that I would like to take a tour of the limestone mine. The caretaker said I needed to talk to George Foresman of Allegheny Construction.
Allegheny Construction is located at this address:
There are two other companies also found at 2830 Nicholas Ave in Roanoke, Virginia:
Secure Mountain, LLC
and Sunbright Land Company, LLC.
This is going to get messy. But stay with me.
In 2007, Allegheny Construction “announces the company will invest $8 million in a Scott County site and plant and extract high-calcium limestone.” (1)
Interestingly, I found a 2006 report where the Department of the Army allocated $6.83 million to Allegheny Construction for “maintenance, repair or alteration of other conservation and development facilities.” (2) Was this money used to retrofit the limestone mine at Duffield for an underground government data center? We do know they never reopened mining operations like they implied.
Who really owns the old Foote Mineral property?
Which brings us to the Sunbright Land Company. Scott County, Virginia property records indicate that Sunbright Land Company bought the former Foote Mineral plant site and limestone mine on September 25, 2009.
Remember, Sunbright Land Company is also located at the same address as Allegheny Construction, and Secure Mountain: 2830 Nicholas Avenue, Roanoke Virginia.
Secure Mountain, LLC
Secure Mountain’s website states their underground data center is “formerly a limestone mine and Civil Defense relocation site”, “is optimally located in the mountains of western Virginia” and “encompasses 166 acres above ground, with 900,000 square feet (and 21 million cubic feet) of partitioned subsurface engineered space cut more than 1,200 feet back and protected by more than 200 feet of solid rock cover.”(4)
This article is from the Kingsport Times, 1964.
This November 2012 Kingsport Times News article, “Scott supervisors approve permit for data center in Duffield” states:
“…supervisors voted unanimously to award Roanoke-based Secure Mountain, LLC a special use business permit that would allow the company to convert the former Foote Mineral Co. Mine into a data storage facility.” (3)
I have much more information to share about this underground facility in Duffield Virginia, and will do so in future posts.
(1) Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, 2007 Annual Report. http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/By+Year/RD1112008/$file/RD111.pdf
(2) insidegov.com. http://government-contracts.insidegov.com/l/8934847/W912HN06C0052
(3) “Scott supervisors approve permit for data center in Duffield.” Kingsport Times News. November 7, 2012.
(4) Secure Mountain LLC’s website: http://securemountain.com/index.php
(5) George Foresman biography, Capstone. National Defense University, Department of Defense.
(6) Rivada Networks website:
(8) “Colo. firm employs most retired officers from mentor program.” Dec. 29, 2009.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
(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.
Many 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?
(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.
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.
(2)Cave Handout, National Park Service.
(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.
The following entry was written by a guest author who wishes to be known only as The Mysterious Man from Rose Hill. We’ve decided to name this huge underground cave “The Airplane Room” in memory of his father.
This is a story that was told to me by my father when I was 8 to 10 years old in the late 50’s. It was an exciting story for a young boy and I still have vivid memories of him telling it.
Please understand that everything I’m relating is hearsay as I have no way to verify or corroborate the account. My father was a very truthful person. In fact he would often admonish me as a child to never exaggerate or embellish a story. “If you stretch the facts, then no one will believe you when you do tell the truth,” he said.
Following is a recounting of the story as told by my father, as I remember it:
The setting is in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee where my father lived with his family. The time is the early 40’s. It was the war years, and my Dad was in his early teens.
One night, Dad and two of his friends decided to go exploring in Gap Cave, known at that time as Cudjo’s Cave. Arriving late at night, after everyone had gone home, they entered the cave and began their exploration to see how far they could travel inside the cave. After making their way through rough terrain, narrow passages, small openings, mud and water for nearly half the night, they were surprised to enter a huge room much larger than anything they could have imagined.
“We were so excited to have made this amazing discovery,” Dad said, “And to think we were the first people to see it.”
I said, “Dad, how did you know that you were the first people to discover it? How did you know no one else had been there?”
He said, “Well, when we first went in that big room, there was water dripping everywhere. The water had puddled on the floor, and on top of the water, minerals had hardened like a thin sheet of ice on a pond. Where we walked, we broke through the crystal, just like breaking though thin ice, and it left our footprints visible. When we first went in, there were no other footprints, so we knew we were the first.
“Dad,” I said, excited, “just how big was this room? How many feet across?!”
“I don’t know exactly,” he said, “we didn’t have anything to measure with, but I know how big a football field is, and you could put several in it.”
“How many?” I asked.
“Well, several, ” he said.
“Dad, could you see all the way across from one side to the other? Was the ceiling high enough to see the walls all the way around?”
“Oh yeah, he said, “it had a high ceiling.”
“How high would you estimate?”
He said, “Well, it was high enough that you could fly an airplane around in it!”
“Dad,” I asked, “could you fly a passenger plane in it?”
“I don’t know about that,” he said, “but there’s plenty of room to fly a small two-seater plane around inside!”
“Could a small plane take off in that room?” I asked.
“No,” he explained, “the floor is not smooth enough. There are big boulders strewn across the floor. We thought that, in time, there must have been an earthquake and part of the ceiling must have fallen.”
“Do you think that room might ever be open to the public?”
“I doubt it,” he said. “It’s too far back in the mountain and too hard to access. Some of the openings are very small.”
“How long were you there exploring?”
“Not too long,” he replied. “It was a long trek to get there, and we had to be out before morning.”
“Dad,” I asked, “did you carve your names and a date, so people would know you were there?”
“No, he said, “we didn’t do that.”
“Dad, if I ever had a chance to explore that cave, is there any way I could know you were there?”
“Well…” he thought, “we did leave one thing behind. We noticed how heavily everything was mineralized, and we wondered how long it would take for the mineralization to occur. We left a coke bottle under a dripping stalactite thinking that we might come back some day.”
“Dad, how did you get inside the cave?”
“Well,” he said, “there are several ways to get in, but that’s a story for another time, and I have a hard day tomorrow. It’s bedtime and we’d better turn in.”
In April 2015 I published an article about the “Incredible Disappearing Nuclear Reactor” from the Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant in Surgoinsville TN. To recap: in 1980, a 2.3 million pound pressure vessel, the housing in which the nuclear fuel core itself resides, was transported from Knoxville to Phipps Bend over a period of several weeks, the heaviest load ever to travel across Tennessee roads. It took months of preparation to reinforce roads and bridges; when the convoy finally started, roads had to be shut down and power lines lifted for the 100 foot long, 26 foot wide, 30 foot tall load to move through at 3 mph. In other words, you couldn’t miss it.
At some point however, that huge reactor pressure vessel disappeared into thin air.
Now I’ve found a second nuclear reactor pressure vessel that was supposedly transported to Phipps Bend in 1981. It too, is nowhere to be found.
The disconcerting part about the transfer of this second nuclear reactor pressure vessel to Phipps Bend is that there was virtually no media coverage of it. Whereas the first pressure vessel was watched by hundreds of people gathered along the roads, it’s like this one slipped by unnoticed. The first pressure vessel’s voyage was covered in local media: newspaper photos taken, many news articles written, and there was even video coverage.
I’ve found one article about the second pressure vessel in Kingsport’s paper, the Daily News. Here is the June 1981 article in its entirety (click here for link to paper):
Unit 2 on Way
The Reactor Pressure Vessel now en route to Phipps Bend Nuclear plant near Surgoinsville is identical to the one at left, moved the site in 1980. The 92-mile trip by barge and overland for the vessel to be placed in Unit No. 2 of the two-unit nuclear facility began Monday and will take several more days, perhaps another week, to complete.
That’s it. Not even a picture of the event or the RPV itself. To add insult to injury, a photo of the first pressure vessel reactor was used for the story. Note the time of transport, ‘several more days, perhaps another week,’ is a substantially shortened amount of time for the vessel to reach its destination compared to the amount of time it took the first pressure vessel to arrive. Quite simply, it was a ghost when it arrived, and it was a ghost when it left. No photos. No video. Seemingly no eyewitnesses.
One of these pressure vessels were transferred to Dewberry and Davis, who claim they don’t know what happened to it. Below is a link to the only document the TVA FOIA officer could find relating to the sale, disposal or other transfer of the vessel.
I will rephrase the original question:
How do you make two, 2.3 million pound nuclear reactor pressure vessels, disappear into thin air?
Update: Chicago Bridge and Iron worker confirms 2nd reactor vessel never shipped to Phipps Bend proving the above newspaper article was disinformation.