EEOICPA Rio Blanco

DOE, DOL, EPA, NIOSH, SEC, Documents, Plowshare

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Rio Blanco Nuclear Explosion Site, Rifle Colorado

 

Rio Blanco Nuclear Explosion SiteRio Blanco

Rio Blanco is a DOE facility from 1973-1976 so workers are eligible for Part B and Part E claims.

The Rio Blanco site was the location of one of the nuclear tests conducted as part of the AEC's Plowshare program that was initiated in 1957 to develop peaceful (industrial and scientific) applications for nuclear explosives. The operational period began May 2, 1973. On May 17, 1973, three 33 kiloton yield nuclear devices were detonated in a deep well in a test designed to increase natural gas production from low-permeability sandstone. These explosions, known as the Rio Blanco shot, marked the last nuclear test explosions of the Plowshare program. The operation ended in June 1976. The Rio Blanco site was plugged and abandoned in 1976 and returned to the owner in March 1978.

Project Rio Blanco, located 52 miles north of Grand Junction, Colorado, was an effort by the US Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) to access the commercial feasibility of nuclear explosions to extract natural gas on May 17, 1973 in an underground detonation under the Plowshare Program, which was part of Atoms for Peace. 

 

  DOE

DOE Legacy Management has information on Project Rio Blanco as well as a fact sheet

 

DOL

DEEOIC has Rio Blanco statistics and a Site Exposure Matrix.

 

NIOSH

 NIOSH has done several dose reconstructions on Project Rio Blanco workers.  NIOSH does not have any technical basis documents for the Rio Blanco site and no Special Exposure Cohort has been filed.

 

Other

  • Wikipedia has an article on the Rio Blanco nuclear test.
  • The Wall Street Journal Waste Lands series has information on Project Rio Blanco.
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    Project Rio Blanco Documents

  • Project Rio Blanco, Feasibility Study, Piceance Basin, Colorado--1970
  • Project Rio Blanco Evaluation of Possible Radioactivity Transport in Groundwater--May 1973
  • Radiological Monitoring Program Period Covering August 1, 1973 thru October 31, 1973 for CER Geonuclear Corporation Project Rio Blanco
  • Rio Blanco: Nuclear Operations and Chimney Reentry--May 1974
  • Radiological Monitoring Program Period Covering May 1, 1974 thru July 29, 1974 for CER Geonuclear Corporation Project Rio Blanco
  • Status of water disposal well (Fawn Creek Government No. 1), Project Rio Blanco, June 20, 1974
  • Project Rio Blanco: Project Scientist's Summary Report of Production Test Data & Preliminary Analysis of Top Chimney/Cavity--November 1974
  • Project Rio Blanco Radioactivity and the Environment--May 1975
  • Project Rio Blanco Radioactivity and the Environment Addendum-October 1975
  • Project Rio Blanco Definition Plan Additional Formation Evaluation and Production Testing--September 1975
  • Rio Blanco Radiological Summary
  • Assessment of Hydrologic Transport of Radionuclides from the Rio Blanco Underground Nuclear Test Site, Colorado-1997
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     Photos courtesy of DOE and Library of Congress