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Peaceful Nuclear Explosions in the USA
Operation Plowshare was the overall term used to describe the US peaceful nuclear explosions project. Between 1961 and 1973, 28 nuclear shots were conducted.
Origin of the Name
Operation "Plowshare" was coined in 1961 from the following biblical passage:
An overview of Project Chariot. It shows a chain of 5 hydrogen bombs used to create the articial harbor.
Project Chariot was one of the first plowshare nuclear blast proposals that came close to execution. If executed, Project Chariot would have used several hydrogen bombs to create a man-made harbor at Cape Thompson, Alaska. It was never carried out due to public concern for the native populations and the fact that there was little potential use for the harbor to justify the risk and expense of the project.
The government realized that the radiological impact on the environment would make the area inhabitable for human life.
Although the project was never executed, the site was radioactively contaminated in an experiment to determine the effects of buried nuclear wastes on drinking water. Material from an earlier nuclear explosion at the Nevada test site was transported in August 1962 to Cape Thompson and buried. 30 years later, tests revealed low levels of radioactivity at only 2 feet into the burial site. This sparked considerable anger in the Point Hope Inupiat village, which had been experiencing abnormally high rates of cancer in those years. The waste was eventually removed at great expense to the government.
- "Project Chariot Plans." Wikipedia Commons. 9 Sept 2005. 28 Feb. 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Project_Chariot_plans.jpg> US Government Public Domain.
- “Operation Chariot.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 28 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chariot_%281958%29>.
- “Operation Plowshare.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 28 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plowshare>.
- "Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 28 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_nuclear_explosions>.