RULISON, Colo. -
Residents who lived within a 6-mile radius of the blast were told to vacate the area on the day of the test.
The town of Rulison, Colorado is about a 6-hour drive from Colorado Springs.
The town is so small that if you want to look back into the archives to read about Project Rulison you'll have to head to the library in the next town over in Rifle.
The atomic blast that went off underground on September 10th, 1969 was a 40-kiloton atomic blast. For comparison, if you added up the kilotons from both atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, equaled 35 kilotons.
But radiation is everywhere. In fact, the average exposure from naturally occurring radiation in the U.S. Is 300 millirems per year, with higher counts up to 400 millirems per year occurring in higher elevations.
For comparison, radiation exposure around the Fukushima Power Plant at one point reached levels of 400 millirems per hour. Meaning spending just 5 days there would equal the same amount of radiation exposure a 100-year-old person living in Colorado would receive over their entire lifetime.
The gas exhumed from Project Rulison was ultimately deemed too radioactive for commercial use and the project was abandoned shortly after the test.
But in recent years natural gas companies have sought to drill in the area around the site.
Causing concern among some people who've even drawn parallels to 2010's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.