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OPP 07-001 December 2006

Construction highlights, 2007-2008

  1. McMurdo Power and Water Plant Upgrade.The current McMurdo Power Plant was completed and brought on line in 1982 with equipment that specified in the 1970’s design of the new facility.  The facility is presently the only centralized power generation plant for McMurdo Station with emergency power provided by distributed units.  The distributed units are not capable of providing power to all facilities. Therefore, any significant failure in the present power plant could require shutting down a portion of the station. 

    The plant upgrades will add redundancy to the power and the water systems by placing both power generation and water production in each of the water and the power plants, eliminating the single point of failure scenario for both systems without increasing the footprint on the station.  The use of more efficient engines and the addition of heat recovery from both the engine jacket and exhaust gases will decrease the fuel required to operate the station.

    Water Plant construction activities have continued through the FY07 austral winter with Conditional Occupancy scheduled for October 2007. Phase II of Power Plant construction will commence in the austral summer of FY08 with final acceptance scheduled for January 2010.

  2. McMurdo MoGas (Motor Gasoline) Upgrade.The Mogas Upgrade Project is a complete design/build effort focused on modernization of McMurdo Station fuel systems. The project will essentially replace the existing tank (M-3) and dispensing station. The pipeline portion of this project will tie-in at the distribution center near the ice pier and terminate at the new tanks in the pass. Construction activities include installation of 6,300 feet of carbon steel pipe, erection of three 250,000-gallon, single-wall, steel storage tanks, containment berms, and related electrical, control and operational elements. The tanks were installed in the FY05 austral summer, distribution and dispensing systems were designed in FY06 and construction will be complete in FY08.

  3. McMurdo Fuel Tanks Upgrade. This project will add four 2-million gallon fuel storage tanks, one 2-million gallon redundant tank and associated distribution systems at McMurdo. Currently, a fuel tanker delivers petroleum products to McMurdo station every year. The additional storage capacity provides risk mitigation should there be circumstances that delay or prevent a scheduled tanker.  Installation of additional fuel tanks at McMurdo station will also produce sufficient storage capacity to potentially skip delivery of fuel every fourth year, thus saving annualized shipping costs of approximately $1M. The project includes the construction of a pump house to transfer fuel from the redundant tank back to the existing and proposed storage tanks, which will replace the existing AN8/JP5 pump facility (Building 150).

  4. South Pole Station Modernization Project.  Major construction and renovation have replaced most of the 30-year-old South Pole Station’s central facilities, which exceeded their design life and could not meet projected science demands.  Construction to date has included a new fuel storage facility, a new garage and shop, a new electric power plant, the kitchen and dining room, living facilities, station services, medical facilities, science labs, emergency power plant, store/post office, food-growth chamber, and computer lab. The 2005-2006 austral summer represented a major project milestone with conditional occupancy and transition of all related station operations into the new Elevated Station. In addition, the station’s old communication center was relocated from the Dome to the Elevated Station.

    Conditional Occupancy of the Cryogen Laboratory, completion of the #3 water well and upgrades of satellite signal equipment are scheduled for completion in January/February 2007.  Scheduled in FY08 are: completion of final cladding/siding of the elevated station, final power plant modifications to improve plant efficiency and formal dedication of the station.  Construction of the Cargo Facility is scheduled to begin FY08 with completion in FY09.  SPTR-1 will be upgraded boosting the throughput from 5 Mbps to 45Mbps to meeting increasing data transport demands of the scientific community. 

  5. Palmer Station Improvements.  A new 1,567 square foot science research building was constructed in FY06 for electronic observations and the installation of atmospheric monitoring equipment. Design for the replacement of the station’s pier will begin in FY07.

  6. Palmer Station Improvements.  A new 1,567-square-foot science research building was constructed during 200-2006 austral summer for electronic observations and the installation of the RASA observation station. Design for the replacement of the station’s pier will begin in 2007.

  7. McMurdo Station Satellite Communications Upgrade. This project is formally titled the McMurdo Wide Area Network Bandwidth Improvement (MWBI) project.  All primary voice and data traffic for McMurdo Station to the continental U.S. is provided by a sophisticated microwave link to the Black Island Telecommunications Facility (BITF). Black Island is approximately 22 miles south of McMurdo Station and its location allows unobstructed communication signals. The BITF houses all communication and satellite equipment required to relay communications with a satellite in orbit over the equator.  NSF has undertaken a two-year effort to address lifecycle replacement needs and to improve the bandwidth available for McMurdo Station.   As a result of this effort bandwidth will increase in January 2008 to 10Mbps.

  8. National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Site Survey.  National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). The NPOESS project will construct, operate, and maintain earth-station receptor(s) at McMurdo Station to receive NPOESS-stored mission data for the Department of Commerce, Department of Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The project implementation work for the 2006/2007 season includes:

    • Define/upgrade McMurdo and Black Island infrastructure (power, network, etc), facilities, telecommunications, satellite communications equipment, and other services to meet the needs of the aforementioned agencies.
    • Conduct a survey of McMurdo for the development of the environmental assessment.
    • Investigate site for the design of roads, utilidors and pad placement for the receive-only earth stations.
    • Design a shelter for housing the upgraded electronics for the 7.2 meter antenna, including structural, mechanical and electrical elements. 
    • Ship purchased Raytheon IIS antenna feed for 7.2 meter antenna from Port Hueneme to McMurdo Station.