Natural Gas Extraction by Nuclear Explosion

In the late 1950s, the United States of America launched a new kind of nuclear program called Project Plowshare aimed at finding ways to better utilize the tremendous energy released by nuclear bombs. Until then, nuclear energy meant only one thing—weapons. But scientists wanted to find whether nuclear energy could be used for peaceful purposes such as blasting a new harbor in Alaska, or digging a new canal through the Isthmus of Panama, and other such projects that involved moving large quantities of earth and rocks. One such project was fracking.

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Photo taken at ground zero shortly after the detonation on September 10, 1969, Project Rulison. Photo: U.S. Department of Energy


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