As part of the Vela Uniform program, nuclear tests were conducted near Fallon, Nevada (Project Shoal), at the Central Nevada Test Area (Project Faultless), on Amchitka Island, Alaska (Projects Long Shot, Milrow, and Cannikin. Of these, only Long Shot was part of the Vela Uniform program; Projects Milrow and Cannikin were part of the nuclear weapons testing program), and near Hattiesburg, Mississippi (Projects Salmon and Sterling). Projects Shoal, Faultless, and Long Shot were designed to determine the behavior and characteristics of seismic signals generated by nuclear detonations and to differentiate them from seismic signals generated by naturally occurring earthquakes. Projects Salmon and Sterling were designed to evaluate seismic signals from both coupled and decoupled detonations in a salt medium (the Tatum Salt Dome).
As part of the Plowshare program, the Department conducted nuclear tests at two sites near Rifle, Colorado (Rulison and Rio Blanco), near Farmington, New Mexico (Project Gasbuggy), and near Carlsbad, New Mexico (Project Gnome-Coach). Projects Rulison, Rio Blanco, and Gasbuggy were designed to stimulate the production of natural gas in tight sandstone formations. Project Gnome-Coach was designed to determine the seismic signals, effects, and products of a nuclear detonation in a bedded salt medium.
Contamination resulting from these tests includes radionuclides; organic compounds; metals, such as beryllium and lead; hydrocarbons; drilling mud; and residues from plastics, epoxies, and drilling instrumentation. The Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Mexico sections of this report contain more specific details regarding the scope and approach of the Environmental Management program offsite locations.