Monday, May 20, 2013

Siemens to Provide Wind Power for US Nuclear Weapons Plant

German engineering firm Siemens has won a contract from the US federal government to build a wind power facility for America’s last remaining nuclear weapons plant.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has awarded Siemens Government Technology a 20-year construct for the construction and operation of a 11.5-megawatt wind farm for the Pantex plant, situated near Amarillo in Texas.
The wind farm will be situated on 1,500 acres of lands to the east of the Pantex nuclear weapons plant and will come equipped with five 2.3 megawatt turbines.
The new facility is also set to be the largest wind farm ever commissioned by the US federal government.
According to the company, the plant will generate enough electricity to satisfy the energy needs of 3,500 households and will provide US$2.9 million in annual cost savings throughout the life of the contract. The farm is expected to provide over 60 per cent of the Pantex site’s annual power needs.
Under the terms of the contract, Siemens will also be responsible for operation of the facility.
The new wind farm is part of efforts by federal facilities to provide greater support to renewable energy, as ordered by a presidential directive.
The NNSA is responsible for management of the US’ nuclear arsenal as well as its nuclear non-proliferation and naval reactor programs.
The Pantex plant is America’s sole remaining nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility. The plant is responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, and is managed and operated by BWXT Pantex and Sandia National Laboratories on behalf of the United States Department of Energy.
The addition of a clean energy installation to the site’s facilities is in stark contrast to the purpose and operational history of the plant. In addition to the manufacture of conventional bombs and nuclear weaponry, the Pantex plant has triggered controversy due to the contaminants and pollution it produces, which have reportedly led to a significant increase in the incidence of cancer and low birth weights in adjacent counties.