b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLESpecial Isotope Separations facility, eyes of satellites passing overhead. The hundred people, most of whom managedwere canceled by DOE, but not buildingand the remoteness of to do their jobs without knowing howbecause of Idaho protests. Secretary of Idahowere ideal for the secret manu- their product was to be used. 2 6E nergy James Watkins asked Congress facturing project. 25 in 1990 to cancel the SIS plant because In 1990 the Army announced to theweapons needs could be met with The junk that had accumulated in the public and to its employees what wasexisting plutonium resources. In fact ha nga -as-storage-closet over the years rhis predecessor, John S. Herrington, was moved out of the way, and the IDOhad once declared that the nation was hired Exxon Nuclear Idaho Company toawash in plutonium. The Soviet set up shop. Fresh barbed wire went upUnion was coming apart, future around the area, and signs went up inweapons needs were revised, and a the cafeteria warning workers not to dis-general downsizing of the weapons cuss classified information. The hangarcomplex began. The New Production doors were welded shut. The AN PsReactor faded, as Watkins looked into n eve -used coupling station and hatch rthe possibility that a linear accelerator access to the basement remained in itscould produce tritium. 2 3 original place, encompassed as part of astairway landing and part of a fewOnly one major defense project materi- o ffices. Because its purpose was secret,alized in Idaho, and it had more to do Site workers and the press called itwith conventional than nuclear defense. Project X. Its official nameSpecificStill, it was as secret as any traditional Manufacturing Capability (SMC)gavenuclear weapon. When IDO manager little away. In 1985 Exxon produced the INEEL 93-293-17-3Troy Wade announced it in 1983, he first production prototype and by 1988 Above. Support buildings for Project X went upcould only describe what it was not: not regular shipments headed for Lima, around the TAN Hangar. Below. An employeea reactor, not related to nuclear fusion, Ohio, where the material was fitted onto appreciation day held in 1991 at SMC gaveand not a space-related project. He said the tanks. The project employed five employees an opportunity to see the M1-A1 Abramsit didnt involve weapons or radioactive tank in action.hazards. 24But the project did involve uranium.And it was intended for non-peacefulpurposes, if not directly as a weapon.The project went under construction inthe fall of 1983. The United StatesArmy had secretly developed an armorpackage using depleted uranium for itsM1-A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. TheEast Idaho Nuclear Industrial Councilhad been trying to market the emptyhangar building at TAN for years, andthe building at last found a customer.Its expansive clear space was roomyenough to hide an 82,000-square-footbuilding three stories high from theINEEL 91-0116-2-282 2 8'