It’s not hard to argue that nuclear security is very important. These weapons have the potential for mass destruction that is unparalleled by most weapons currently in the world. So, it might come as a surprise to learn that one of the most notable threats to nuclear security today are wind turbines.
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What Do Wind Turbines Have to Do With Nuclear Security?
Many of you might be wondering how wind turbines work into this equation, and that’s a fair question.
To clarify, many US nuclear launch sites are hidden underground on rectangular plots of land. These small plots of land usually connect with vast private farmlands that utilize wind turbines for safe, renewable energy. In order to sustain these large farms, many of these turbines are necessary. This has become a problem for the military as these turbines are hundreds of feet tall.
It is the size and placement of these turbines that is cause for concern. The issue that many nuclear missile silos have, such as Malmstrom AFB Montana, is that they are very close to wind turbines. This could block potentially crucial trajectories for many weapons.
Additionally, whenever alarms are sounded on base, military helicopters are sent with security crews. These crews need to fly low and near the base, which they are unable to do when wind turbines obstruct their path.
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What is the Plan Moving Forward?
The relationship between Northwestern Energy (the farmers who provide the military with the land) and the U.S. Air Force has always been amicable. They each benefit from the situation that they are currently in. In fact, the military is able to use the farmer’s land in exchange for income from turbine leases.
There is no issue inherently with the source of renewable energy; however, there is concern from the military of the wind turbines getting closer to being a hazard for weapon launches.
In the Senate version of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, there were limitations made to future towers that have implications for the military. Thankfully, no wind turbine technician has to worry about fixing or changing current towers. This is just to prevent further encroachment. However, this act only has this language in the Senate version of the proposal, not in the House. Therefore, there must be a conference to further negotiate future plans.
It is important to make an agreement on how to handle this situation, as it would help prevent potential issues with the wind turbines. With the positive relationship between the two parties, it seems like an agreement is within reach. This would be a much better outcome than having to ask, how much does a wind turbine cost in relation to the safety of the United States.