Nuclear Wind

Government’s largest wind farm to be used to generate electricity for assembly of atomic bombs

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The Obama Administration is building the nation’s biggest wind farm to generate electricity to help … assemble the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

It’s boasting of the great environmental stewardship the project represents — breezes for bombs? — and has contracted with Siemens USA, the American subsidiary of a German company, for the wind turbines at the heart of the operation.

The government broke ground on Tuesday for the Pantex Renewable Energy Project. When finished next summer, it will include five 2.3-MW wind turbines on 1,500 acres (607 hectares) of government-owned property east of the Pantex plant in the Texas panhandle. “Pantex is charged with securing America by providing the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” the fissile factory says, “and is now the future home of the federal government’s largest wind farm.”

The wind farm “will be funded by the energy savings guaranteed by Siemens,” Pantex says — an estimated $50 million over 18 years.

(MORE: Is It Time to Cut Off One Leg of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Triad?)

Supervising the financing is Hannon Armstrong, “a specialty finance company that provides debt and equity financing for sustainable-infrastructure projects.” The Maryland-based company focuses on “profitable sustainable-infrastructure projects that increase energy efficiency, provide cleaner energy sources, positively impact the environment, or make more efficient use of natural resources.”

Positively impacts the environment?

That kind of green talk is unusual for a nuclear-bomb factory. Now-shuttered sites like Colorado’s Rocky Flats plant and Washington State’s Hanford site, which have poisoned the ground surrounding them for years, have tended to be the rule.

But it’s no different from what Pantex itself is saying about the deal:

The Pantex wind farm is projected to generate approximately 47 million kW-h of clean energy annually, which is greater than 65% of Pantex’s annual electricity needs. This is enough electricity to power nearly 3,500 homes and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 35,000 metric tons per year. This reduction is also equivalent to removing 7,200 cars from the road each year or planting more than 850,000 trees.

So if you’re discombobulated about the use of wind power for nuclear weapons, it might help to think of the Pantex project as an atomic arboretum.

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