Kaufman highlights danger of fracking near atomic test sites

Scott Kaufman, author of Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America, has published an article on History News Network about the possible dangers of “hydrofracking” for natural gas near the sites of Cold War–era atomic tests. As part of Project Plowshare, those tests were intended to access the same natural gas reserves now being targeted:

Fracking Could Release Radiation from Old Nuclear Tests

Here’s an excerpt:

“Between 1967 and 1973, the AEC and the Radiation Laboratory — now called Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — with the support of several oil and natural gas companies, conducted three tests aimed at accessing deeply-buried natural gas: Gasbuggy, which was held in New Mexico, and Rulison and Rio Blanco, both of which were conducted in Colorado. Aside from arousing the enmity of many of the same groups which had opposed Plowshare all along, these tests ended up making the natural gas radioactive and, therefore, not saleable. . . . Whether drilling near the Rulison or Rio Blanco sites will allow radioactivity from those tests to enter the atmosphere is yet to be seen. It is significant, though, that a Cold War-era plan to help the United States achieve greater energy independence is once again raising environmental red flags as this country continues to seek means of avoiding overreliance on foreign sources of fuel.”

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