Comparative Radioactivities from Nuclear Excavation

by Gary H. Higgins,


Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1967, Vol. 93, Issue 1, Pg. 1-10


Document Type: Journal Paper

Discussion: Jackson Melvin W. (See full record)
Discussion: Biswas Asit K. (See full record)

Abstract: The chief potential value of nuclear excavation is in reduced initial cost. In addition to economic factors, however, practicality and safety of the nuclear method must be assessed for any given application. Crude methods exist for making preliminary estimates of crater size in different earth materials and for different explosive yields, but details will not be available until more nuclear experiments have been performed. Experiments indicate that increasing explosive yield ten-fold increases linear crater dimensions about two-fold. Costs of nuclear excavation are: charges for explosives and firing services; emplacement and pre-excavation construction; safety; and operational support. Total cost of a project is roughly ten times the charge for the explosive. Hazards from nuclear excavation are radiation, air blast, and seismic shock. Nuclear excavation of a transisthmian canal would raise the average concentration of radioactivities in the area by only a small percentage.

Subject Headings: Excavation | Explosions | Economic factors | Nuclear safety | Construction costs | Radioactive materials | Earth materials | Linear functions

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