You may browse the Atlas by following the curated "paths" of information and interpretation provided by the editors. These paths roughly track the movement of radioactive materials from the earth, into weapons or energy sources, and then into unmanageable waste—along with the environmental, social, technical, and ethical ramifications of these processes. In addition to the stages of the production process, you may view in sequence the positivist, technocratic version of this story, or the often hidden or repressed shadow side to the industrial processing of nuclear materials.
Using the buttons on the left, you may also browse the Atlas's artworks and scholarly essays, access geolocated material on a map, and learn more about contributors to the project.
If you would like to contribute materials to the Atlas, please reach out to the editors: Sarah Kanouse (s.kanouse at northeastern.edu) and Shiloh Krupar (srk34 at georgetown.edu).
Cover Image by Shanna Merola, "An Invisible Yet Highly Energetic Form of Light," from Nuclear Winter. Atlas design by Byse.
Funded by grants from Georgetown University and Northeastern University. Initial release September 2021.
Kelly Michals, Project Rulison site marker and warning sign, 13 August 2010, Flickr
Project Rulison Nuclear Test Site
Located 8 miles southeast of the town of Parachute (previously “Grand Valley”), approximately 40 miles northeast of Grand Junction and 12 miles southwest of Rifle in Garfield County at a place locally named “Doghead Mountain,” Project Rulison featured a 40-kiloton nuclear “device” detonated 8,400 feet below the ground surface. Part of both the “Operation Mandrel” weapons test series (thus sometimes referred to as “Mandrel Rulison”) and Operation Plowshare, the purpose of this test was to investigate the feasibility of stimulating low permeability natural gas formations by nuclear explosions. On September 10, 1969, the test was conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory of New Mexico, Austral Oil of Houston, Texas, and the nuclear engineering firm CER Geonuclear Corporation of Las Vegas, Nevada. The detonation produced excellent gas flow but because the gas was radioactive, it could not be sold and was subsequently flared into the atmosphere, ultimately contributing to the background radiation burden.