Gasbuggy Site Assessment and Risk Evaluation

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The Gasbuggy site is in northern New Mexico in the San Juan Basin, Rio Arriba County (Figure 1-1). The Gasbuggy experiment was designed to evaluate the use of a nuclear detonation to enhance natural gas production from the Pictured Cliffs Formation, a tight, gas-bearing sandstone formation. The 29-kiloton-yield nuclear device was placed in a 17.5-inch wellbore at 4,240 feet (ft) below ground surface (bgs), approximately 40 ft below the Pictured Cliffs/Lewis shale contact, in an attempt to force the cavity/chimney formed by the detonation up into the Pictured Cliffs Sandstone. The test was conducted below the southwest quarter of Section ... continued below

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Creator: Unknown. March 1, 2011.

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Description

The Gasbuggy site is in northern New Mexico in the San Juan Basin, Rio Arriba County (Figure 1-1). The Gasbuggy experiment was designed to evaluate the use of a nuclear detonation to enhance natural gas production from the Pictured Cliffs Formation, a tight, gas-bearing sandstone formation. The 29-kiloton-yield nuclear device was placed in a 17.5-inch wellbore at 4,240 feet (ft) below ground surface (bgs), approximately 40 ft below the Pictured Cliffs/Lewis shale contact, in an attempt to force the cavity/chimney formed by the detonation up into the Pictured Cliffs Sandstone. The test was conducted below the southwest quarter of Section 36, Township 29 North, Range 4 West, New Mexico Principal Meridian. The device was detonated on December 10, 1967, creating a 335-ft-high chimney above the detonation point and a cavity 160 ft in diameter. The gas produced from GB-ER (the emplacement and reentry well) during the post-detonation production tests was radioactive and diluted, primarily by carbon dioxide. After 2 years, the energy content of the gas had recovered to 80 percent of the value of gas in conventionally developed wells in the area. There is currently no technology capable of remediating deep underground nuclear detonation cavities and chimneys. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) must continue to manage the Gasbuggy site to ensure that no inadvertent intrusion into the residual contamination occurs. DOE has complete control over the 1/4 section (160 acres) containing the shot cavity, and no drilling is permitted on that property. However, oil and gas leases are on the surrounding land. Therefore, the most likely route of intrusion and potential exposure would be through contaminated natural gas or contaminated water migrating into a producing natural gas well outside the immediate vicinity of ground zero. The purpose of this report is to describe the current site conditions and evaluate the potential health risks posed by the most plausible contaminant exposure scenario, drilling of natural gas wells near the site. The results of this risk evaluation will guide DOE's future surveillance and monitoring activities in the area to ensure that site conditions are adequately protective of human health. This evaluation is not a comprehensive risk assessment for the site; it is intended to provide assurance that DOE's monitoring approach can detect the presence of site-related contamination at levels well below those that would pose an unacceptable risk to human health.

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  • Report No.: LMS/GSB/S05374 Rev.1
  • Grant Number: DE-AM01-07LM00060
  • DOI: 10.2172/1023213 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1023213
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc836191

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 8:06 p.m.

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Gasbuggy Site Assessment and Risk Evaluation, report, March 1, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836191/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.