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Project PlowshareThe Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America$
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Scott Kaufman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451256

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451256.001.0001

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Project Plowshare

Scott Kaufman

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at some of the Atomic Energy Commission's (AEC) Plowshare experiments. The first one, Project Chariot, was motivated by US Information Agency Director Arthur Larson’s suggestion to conduct a nuclear excavation blast in Alaska. Two were named Oilsands and Gnome, while the other one was unnamed. The AEC and its supporters believed that together, these four tests would prove the multitude of uses for the peaceful atom, while simultaneously protecting America's military and economic security. The focus for Gnome was heat and isotope generation; for Oilsands and the unnamed experiment, it was the stimulation of petroleum production. Chariot was intended to create a harbor beneficial to the people and corporate interests of Alaska. More importantly, it would provide crucial information to what would become the keystone of the Plowshare program: the construction of a sea-level isthmian canal.

Keywords:   Atomic Energy Commission, Plowshare experiments, Project Chariot, Project Oilsands, Project Gnome, peaceful atom, sea-level isthmian canal

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