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Photograph of Aerial View of Test Site (Gasbuggy Aerial View)

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Division of Peaceful Nuclear Explosives

Published by Lawrence Radiation Laboratory c. 1964, Livermore, CA, 1964
Condition: good
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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1 photo, color photo approx. 20" x 16" mounted on board 24" x 20", some soiling to board and some wear along edges. Peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs) are nuclear explosions conducted for non-military purposes, such as activities related to economic development including the creation of canals. During the 1960s and 1970s, both the United States and the Soviet Union conducted a number of PNEs. Six of the explosions by the Soviet Union are considered to have been of an applied nature, not just tests. Subsequently the United States and the Soviet Union halted their programs. Definitions and limits are covered in the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976. In the PNE Treaty, the signatories agreed: not to carry out any individual nuclear explosions having a yield exceeding 150 kilotons; not to carry out any group explosion (consisting of a number of individual explosions) having an aggregate yield exceeding 1,500 kilotons; and not to carry out any group explosion having an aggregate yield exceeding 150 kilotons unless the individual explosions in the group could be identified and measured by agreed verification procedures. The parties also reaffirmed their obligations to comply fully with the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963. The parties reserve the right to carry out nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes in the territory of another country if requested to do so, but only in full compliance with the yield limitations and other provisions of the PNE Treaty and in accord with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 prohibits all nuclear explosions, regardless of whether they are for peaceful purposes or not. Project Gasbuggy was an underground nuclear detonation carried out by the United States Atomic Energy Commission on December 10, 1967 in rural northern New Mexico. It was part of Operation Plowshare, a program designed to find peaceful uses for nuclear explosions. Gasbuggy was carried out by the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and the El Paso Natural Gas Company, with funding from the Atomic Energy Commission. Its purpose was to determine if nuclear explosions could be useful in fracturing rock formations for natural gas extraction. The site, lying in the Carson National Forest, is approximately 34 km (21 mi) southwest of Dulce, New Mexico and 87 km (54 mi) east of Farmington, and was chosen because natural gas deposits were known to be held in sandstone beneath Leandro Canyon. A 29 kt (120 TJ) device was placed at a depth of 1,288 m (4,227 ft) underground, then the well was backfilled before the device was detonated; a crowd had gathered to watch the detonation from atop a nearby butte. The detonation took place after a couple of delays, the last one caused by a breakdown of the explosive refrigeration system. The detonation produced a rubble chimney that was 24 m (80 ft) wide and 102 m (335 ft) high above the blast center. After an initial surface cleanup effort the site sat idle for over a decade. A later surface cleanup effort primarily tackled leftover toxic materials. In 1978, a marker monument was installed at the Surface Ground Zero (SGZ) point that provided basic explanation of the historic test. Below the main plaque lies another which indicates that no drilling or digging is allowed without government permission. The site is publicly accessible via the Carson National Forest, F.S. 357 dirt road/Indian J10 that leads into the Carson National Forest. Following the Project Gasbuggy test, two subsequent nuclear explosion fracturing experiments were conducted in western Colorado in an effort to refine the technique. They were Project Rulison in 1969 and Project Rio Blanco in 1973. In both cases the gas radioactivity was still seen as too high and in the last case the triple-blast rubble chimney structures disappointed the design engineers. Soon after that test the ~ 15-year Project Plowshare program funding dried up. These early fracturing tests were later superseded by hydraulic. Bookseller Inventory # 11228

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Photograph of Aerial View of Test Site (...

Publisher: Lawrence Radiation Laboratory c. 1964, Livermore, CA

Publication Date: 1964

Binding: Photograph

Book Condition: good

Edition: Presumed first iteration thus.

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