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Urta-Bulak gas well underground nuclear explosion, 1966

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Urta-Bulak gas well underground nuclear explosion. Flames rising from a gas well fire just before the ground shakes following the use of an underground nuclear explosion. This is the Urta-Bulak gas field in 1966, in southern Uzbekistan, in what was then the Soviet Union (USSR). The fire had been burning for almost three years, and conventional methods to end it had failed. Boreholes were drilled to a depth of about 1500 metres, and a 30-kiloton nuclear explosive was lowered into the borehole to around 35 metres from the shaft of the gas well. This bomb, an example of a peaceful nuclear explosion (PNE), was detonated and turned the rock to glass, sealing the gas well shaft. This successfully extinguished the gas well fire. No radioactivity above background levels was detected in subsequent surveys. The detonation took place on 30 September 1966.

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  • Duration: 00:00:08.06
  • Audio: No
  • Interlaced: Yes
  • Capture Format: Unknown
  • Codec: Apple ProRes 422

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