Environments at U. S. and U.S.S.R. Nuclear Explosion Sites: Petroleum- Stimulation Projects
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY RESTON VA
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The United States Plowshare program for the peaceful application of nuclear explosives was formally established by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1957. The first Plowshare experiment, Project Gnome, was detonated on December 10, 1961. The second such experiment, Project Rulison, conducted on September 10, 1969, under the sponsorship of Austral Oil Company, Inc., the AEC, and the Department of Interior, is currently being evaluated. These two experiments emphasized the U. S. interest in the potential application of underground nuclear explosions to the petroleum industry. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has evinced considerable interest in the nonmilitary applications of nuclear energy, but their parallel development of research and experimentation has largely gone unpublicized. The true extent of their progress has been indicated at the Soviet-American technical talks on the use of nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes which were held in Vienna during April 1969 and in Moscow during February 1970. The Soviets identified cratering and underground projects in a number of media, including clay, shale, sandstone, limestone, salt, and granite, with explosions at depths ranging from near surface to about 1,500 meters. All of the identified underground projects have had industrial applications.
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