Study: Danger from Rulison drilling minimal |

Study: Danger from Rulison drilling minimal

RULISON ” A long-awaited federal study has concluded that there is a minimal chance of nuclear contamination occurring as a result of natural gas drilling near the Project Rulison site.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management released the study’s results today.

Project Rulison involved the underground detonation of a 40-kiloton nuclear bomb 8,426 feet underground near Rulison on Sept. 10, 1969. The experiment was an attempt to free up commercially marketable quantities of natural gas, but was ultimately deemed a failure.

The DOE used conceptual flow and transport models to simulate tritium migration. The agency says the most likely pathway from the detonation zone to the surface would be via a producing gas well, through water vapor contaminated with tritium.

The model evaluates tritium migration to a hypothetical producing gas well in what the government considers to be the most vulnerable location outside the current drilling exclusion area. It finds that tritium at concentrations above natural background levels would not reach the well in 95 percent of simulations.

The government’s report comes as energy companies are drilling within of a 3-mile radius around the blast area, which is causing concerns for some area residents. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is scheduled to hold an informational meeting on Project Rulison in early October in Grand Junction.

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