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Title: Plowshare Program - American Atomic Bomb Tests For Industrial Applications

The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) established the Plowshare Program as a research and development activity to explore the technical and economic feasibility of using nuclear explosives for industrial applications. The reasoning was that the relatively inexpensive energy available from nuclear explosions could prove useful for a wide variety of peaceful purposes. The Plowshare Program began in 1958 and continued through 1975. Between December 1961 and May 1973, the United States conducted 27 Plowshare nuclear explosive tests comprising 35 individual detonations. Conceptually, industrial applications resulting from the use of nuclear explosives could be divided into two broad categories: 1) large-scale excavation and quarrying, where the energy from the explosion was used to break up and/or move rock; and 2) underground engineering, where the energy released from deeply buried nuclear explosives increased the permeability and porosity of the rock by massive breaking and fracturing. Possible excavation applications included: canals, harbors, highway and railroad cuts through mountains, open pit mining, construction of dams, and other quarry and construction-related projects. Underground nuclear explosion applications included: stimulation of natural gas production, preparation of leachable ore bodies for in situ leaching, creation of underground zones of fractured oil shale for in situ retorting, andmore » formation of underground natural gas and petroleum storage reservoirs.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1148586
Resource Type:
Multimedia
Research Org:
DTIE (Divison of Technical Information Extension, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ATOMIC BOMB; NUCLEAR EXPLOSION; INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION; EXCAVATION; ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION