Final Rulison Path Forward

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management developed this report as a guide for discussions with the Colorado State regulators and other interested stakeholders in response to increased drilling for natural gas reserves near the underground nuclear explosion site at Rulison, Colorado. The Rulison site is located in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado, 40 miles northeast of Grand Junction. The Rulison test was the second natural gas reservoir stimulation experiment in the Plowshare Program, which was designed to develop peaceful uses for nuclear energy. On September 10, 1969, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, a predecessor agency ... continued below

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44 pages, 2.36 MB

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Creator: Unknown. June 1, 2010.

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This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

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Description

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management developed this report as a guide for discussions with the Colorado State regulators and other interested stakeholders in response to increased drilling for natural gas reserves near the underground nuclear explosion site at Rulison, Colorado. The Rulison site is located in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado, 40 miles northeast of Grand Junction. The Rulison test was the second natural gas reservoir stimulation experiment in the Plowshare Program, which was designed to develop peaceful uses for nuclear energy. On September 10, 1969, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, a predecessor agency of DOE, detonated a 40-kiloton nuclear device 8426 feet below the ground surface in an attempt to release commercially marketable quantities of natural gas. The blast vaporized surrounding rock and formed a cavity about 150 feet in diameter. Although the contaminated materials from drilling operations were subsequently removed from the surface of the blast site, no feasible technology exists to remove subsurface radioactive contamination in or around the test cavity. An increase in drilling for natural gas near the site has raised concern about the possibility of encountering residual radioactivity from the area of the detonation. DOE prohibits drilling in the 40-acre lot surrounding the blast site at a depth below 6000 feet. DOE has no evidence that indicates contamination from the Rulison site detonation has migrated or will ever migrate beyond the 40-acre institutional control boundary. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) established two wider boundaries around the site. When a company applies for a permit to drill within a 3-mile radius of surface ground zero, COGCC notifies DOE and provides an opportunity to comment on the application. COGCC also established a half-mile radius around surface ground zero. An application to drill within one-half mile requires a full hearing before the commission. This report outlines DOE's recommendation that gas developers adopt a conservative, staged drilling approach allowing gas reserves near the Rulison site to be recovered in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of encountering contamination. This staged approach calls for collecting data from wells outside the half-mile zone before drilling closer, and then drilling within the half-mile zone in a sequential manner, first at low contamination probability locations and then moving inward. DOE's recommended approach for drilling in this area will protect public safety while allowing collection of additional data to confirm that contamination is contained within the 40-acre institutional control boundary.

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44 pages, 2.36 MB

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  • Report No.: LMS/RUL--S04617
  • Grant Number: DE-AM01-07LM00060
  • DOI: 10.2172/1110228 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1110228
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc864584

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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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Creation Date

  • June 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 16, 2016, 12:32 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Sept. 25, 2017, 3:57 p.m.

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Final Rulison Path Forward, report, June 1, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc864584/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.