Peaceful Nuclear Explosions: U.S. Project Plowshare and Soviet Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy

Here is more information on Project Plowshare, which detonated 31 nuclear devices between 1957 and 1977. The lesser-known Soviet Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy project was much larger and protracted, with a total of 156 nuclear tests between 1965 and 1989, including six operational detonations to attempt to put out gas well fires and a methane blow-out.

Here is a vintage 1968 document, “Plowshare” [PDF] from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission on the rationale, physics, engineering, and initial results of the project.


The Bible exhorts us to beat our plowshares into swords…Joel 3:10.


It’s an interesting juxtaposition (emphasis mine):

Isaiah 2

  1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
  2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
  3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  4. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
  5. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
  6. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

Joel 3

  1. The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.
  2. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:
  3. And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.
  4. Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
  5. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
  6. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
  7. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
  8. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
  9. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

What could possibly go wrong with a federal government using eminent domain and nukes to “build” infrastructure ?! ( note to visitors of this site – This is meant as satire, ie joking remark)