Nuclear Fracking

When Edward Teller Bombed the West

Schematic for the Project Gasbuggy nuclear test. Image: Department of Energy.

In all there were three big nuclear explosions in the Colorado Basin: Project Gas Buggy, Project Rio Blanco and Project Rulison. Rulison was the last major episode in the Atoms for Peace program. The peace in question wasn’t a cooling of the tensions between the US and the Soviet Union, but between two even more entrenched rivals: the nuclear industry and the oil companies, then locked in fierce combat over which sector would control America’s energy future. The AEC wanted to prove that a few well-placed nuclear bombs could strategically rearrange the geology of the Earth’s the crust in such a way as to release deeply buried and once untappable reservoirs of oil and gas.

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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