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South Pole Station safety upgrades and modernization begin

On a dock at Port Hueneme, California, 45 new metal fuel tanks wait to be loaded aboard the antarctic supply ship Greenwave in late 1997, enroute to Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. These 10,000-gallon, single-walled tanks, which were custom built, are part of U.S. Antarctic Program's effort to make operations at the station safer and more environmentally sound. Purchased with funds allocated during fiscal 1997 for the South Pole Safety and Environment Project and some additional funds from fiscal 1998 for the South Pole Modernization Project, the new steel fuel tanks will replace the rubber fuel bladders that have been traditionally used at some U.S. antarctic stations to store fuel.

After being loaded onto the Greenwave, the tanks were delivered to McMurdo Station in early February, as part of the annual supply mission. By 13 February six of the scheduled 15 tanks had been flown from McMurdo Station to the South Pole, leaving nine scheduled to be delivered before the station began winter operations. The remaining tanks will be delivered to the South Pole in the early part of the 1998-1999 austral summer.

Once at the Pole, the tanks and the red spill-containment "boats" will be placed in the fuel arches that currently house the eight 25,000-gallon rubber fuel bladders. The spill-containment boats are arranged side-by-side, with one tank placed in each boat. Then a second row of tanks is stacked on top to complete the arrangement. The fuel storage project is scheduled to be completed during the 1998-1999 austral summer.