Originally published 02/06/2013
Storax Sedan nuclear test, 1962, a part of Project Plowshare.“Nuclear explosives” versus “nuclear power.” The former raises images of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, or the atomic tests held in the Pacific Ocean or at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The latter is suggestive of civilian applications of the atom, specifically, atomic power plants that generate electricity. Yet the idea of using nuclear devices to find a way to meet Americans’ demand for energy received serious consideration during the Cold War. Indeed, tests conducted decades ago to stimulate natural gas production are once again making news.