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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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A Program on Hold

A Program on Hold

(p.50) 3 A Program on Hold
Project Plowshare

Scott Kaufman

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the bioenvironmental studies sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in order to determine whether Project Chariot could safely take place. Botanist Albert Johnson invited wildlife biologist Les Viereck to join the studies as his assistant, which the latter accepted. Joining them as an independent contractor was geographer Don Foote, who had extensive experience in studying Arctic climates. Their studies ranged from the ecology of the ocean near the Chariot site to marine mammals and limnology. Driven by their determination to defend US security as they defined it, AEC officials made two assumptions: that the researchers could complete these comprehensive studies no later than August 1960 with the appropriations provided, and that the studies would alleviate any concerns Chariot’s detractors had about the safety of the blast. Ultimately, these assumptions proved invalid.

Keywords:   Atomic Energy Commission, bioenvironmental studies, Project Chariot, Albert Johnson, Les Viereck, Don Foote, ecology, marine mammals, limnology

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