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Rulison and Rio Blanco Sites. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum September 4, 2008. Introductions. DOE Office of Legacy Management Jack Craig, Project Manager

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rulison and rio blanco sites

Rulison and Rio Blanco Sites

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management

Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas ForumSeptember 4, 2008

introductions
Introductions

DOE Office of Legacy ManagementJack Craig, Project Manager

S.M. Stoller CorporationRick Hutton, Project ManagerJudy Miller, Public Affairs

purpose
Purpose

To provide an overview of DOE project activities and subsurface interests at the Rulison and Rio Blanco sites

nevada offsites
Nevada Offsites

Underground nuclear testing was conducted in Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Nevada.

plowshare program colorado
Plowshare Program—Colorado

Underground nuclear detonations in Colorado supported the Plowshare Program and were conducted to investigate the feasibility of using nuclear explosives to stimulate production in low-permeability gas fields.

  • Rulison
    • September 10, 1969
    • Yield: 40 kilotons
    • Depth: 8,425 feet below ground surface
  • Rio Blanco
    • May 17, 1973
    • Yield: Three simultaneous, 33-kiloton explosions
    • Depths: 5,838; 6,230; and 6,689 feet below ground surface
concern
Concern

Contamination from the subsurface nuclear tests could potentially migrate into nearby gas production wells.

rulison test
Rulison Test
  • Location: Lot 11, NE quarter of SW quarter of Section 25, T7S, R95W

Latitude 39.4052923N, Longitude −107.94845E

  • Depth: 8,425 feet below ground surface
  • Cavity radius: 76.1 feet
  • Horizontal fracture radius: approximately 210 feet
rulison institutional control
Rulison Institutional Control

Site of the second nuclear gas stimulation experiment in the United States. One 43 kiloton nuclear explosive was detonated in this well, 8,326 feet below the surface on September 10, 1969.

No excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials below a depth of 6,000 feet is permitted in Lot 11, NE ¼ SW ¼, of section 25, Township 7 South, Range 95 West, 6th Principal Meridian, Garfield County, Colorado, without U.S. Government permission.

U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration

September 1976

rulison cogcc notification zone and hearing boundary
Rulison COGCC Notification Zone and Hearing Boundary
  • In 1997, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) established a three-mile radius around surface ground zero, based on the fact that no existing gas well was closer than three miles. As part of this informal policy, DOE receives notification when COGCC receives an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) within three miles of surface ground zero.
  • In 2004, COGCC formally established a half-mile radius, with the provision that any APD for a well within a half-mile of the surface ground zero would require a full COGCC hearing prior to issuance.
rio blanco test
Rio Blanco Test
  • Location: NW quarter of NW quarter of Section 14, T3S, R98W

Latitude 39.79327268N, Longitude −108.366455E

  • Depths: 5,838; 6,230; and 6,689 feet below ground surface
  • Cavity radius: 69 feet each
  • Horizontal fracture radius: approximately 207 feet
rio blanco institutional control
Rio Blanco Institutional Control

Site of the third nuclear gas stimulation experiment in the United States of America. Three 30 kiloton nuclear explosives were detonated in this well at 5,838 feet, 6,230 feet, and 6,689 feet below the surface on May 17, 1973.

No excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials to a true vertical depth of 1,500 feet is permitted within a radius of 100 feet of this surface location, nor any similar excavation, drilling, and/or removal of subsurface materials between the true vertical depths of 1,500 feet and 7,500 feet is permitted within a 600 foot radius of this surface location in the NW quarter, section 14, Township 3 South, Range 98 West, 6th Principal Meridian, Rio Blanco County, Colorado, without U.S. Government permission.

U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration

September 1976

summary
Summary
  • Two underground nuclear tests were conducted in Colorado to stimulate gas production.
  • No technically feasible way to remove radioactive contamination in nuclear cavities.
  • Potential for contaminants to migrate to gas-producing channels if drilling or hydraulic fracturing penetrates contaminant zone surrounding the nuclear cavities.
  • DOE will continue to maintain boundaries that protect human health and the environment.
additional information
Additional Information
  • Office of Legacy Management website:http://www.LM.doe.gov
  • Rulison site webpage: http://www.LM.doe.gov/land/sites/co/rulison/rulison.htm
  • Rio Blanco site webpage: http://www.LM.doe.gov/land/sites/co/rio/rio.htm
  • Public Reading Rooms:

Parachute Branch Library244 Grand Valley WayParachute, CO 81635-9607(970) 285-9870

U.S. Department of EnergyOffice of Legacy Management2597 B¾ RoadGrand Junction, CO 81503(970) 248-6089

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