This Old Military Base is a Rising Threat
Now one such site is in danger of becoming an immediate problem, thanks to global climate change. Once a joint venture between the U.S. and Denmark, now no one is eager to foot the bill for a proper cleanup.
Camp Century in northwest Greenland was a U.S. military base abandoned in 1967. The tunnels 120 feet below the surface, were dug out of the thick, year-round ice and fresh snow fell every year to bury the tunnels even deeper.
The US military had a nuclear reactor to power the 200-person base and a lot of waste, from gasoline to PCBs and nuclear coolant water.
It now holds approximately 9,200 tonnes of physical waste, 20,000 liters of chemical waste and 4 million liters of biological waste (mainly sewage) along with radioactive coolants.
It was assumed that the waste would remain buried for tens of thousands of years. With the rapid rate of Greenland's ice melt, hundreds of gallons of nuclear waste could contaminate Greenland and its surrounding oceans.
It's a disaster waiting to happen, but there's still time. The sooner we decide to take action, the better.