PLANT 1 (or A)


        Plant 1 was initially used primarily for the maintenance and inspection of "atomic" weapons or Type I, mainly the MK6.  These weapons utilized the fission of uranium and/or plutonium solely.  Plant 1 (or A) was comprised of two sections joined by a tunnel and separated by an earthen dike.  Both sections, at various times, were used as an electrical maintenance bay.  The right section of Plant 1 was primarily used as the mechanical maintenance bay, and was also used as the location of the final weapon assembly.

 

(Click on photos below to enlarge.)

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Front of Plant 1 area, Handling Buildings to the right

Entrance to Plant 1 to left, sections separated by earthen dike.

    
    When weapons were transferred into either of the Plants, the 463X0 technicians would remove the electrical fusing and firing system components, which were then taken to the electrical maintenance bay (E-bay).  The 331X0 electrical systems technicians in E-bay would conduct various electrical tests and repairs on the fusing and firing systems, including the barometric switches, the timers, and the capacitor banks. The 463X0 technicians would be involved in a variety of maintenance activities on the various weapons systems, including the inspection, modification, repair and assembly of mechanical components, such as detonators, cable connectors, explosive charges, bomb cases, fin assemblies, insertion mechanisms and the removal of low-level radioactive metal corrosion from the internal weapon spheres.    

 

    At about mid-1958 or early 1959, Plant 1 also became a maintenance and inspection site for "thermonuclear" weapons in addition to the MK6.  The thermonuclear weapons functioned by the initial fission of uranium/plutonium followed by the fusion of light elements, primarily lithium/deuterium/tritium in the solid-fueled weapons.  These weapons had been reduced significantly in size and weight since the days of the MK17.

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