It’s 1958, the glory days of utterly unmanaged nuclear experimentation, any idea involving the term “nuclear” will get coverage and funds from the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), no matter how insane, bizarre, derange, mad, impracticable and quixotic, after all, you couldn’t fall back in the race against the mighty Soviet Union.
The project arose, like a horrible mutated Phoenix, from Operation Plowshare, a reference to the old “beat their Swords into ploughshares” quote from Isaiah 2:3–4 in ye olde Christian bible. The Operation’s purpose was to somehow figure out a peaceful use for nuclear weapons, turning horrible world-ending mass explosives into something that could be useful for civilians.
Chariot was the brainchild and dearest concept of the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb, Edward Teller, whom I shall know tell you about, because I need an excuse to tell you about him, so fuck you.
Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist and like most the amazing physicist, he was a complete weirdo, unlike some physicists who just collected dolls or lunchboxes or typewriters, he was massive asshole, undeniably brilliant, huge motherfucker.
Known for the development of the Jahn–Teller effect, which describes something called Spontaneous symmetry breaking, which I guess makes something asymmetrical, somehow, somewhere, sometime, fish and the Ashkin–Teller model (Or Potts model) which has something to do with interacting spins on crystal lattice and I have never ever written something like that in my entire glorious existence, no clue what it means.
And finally, the last one, the HYDROGEN BOMB, the biggest, meanest, baldest and craziest nuclear device you can possibly play with, also known as THERMONUCLEAR weapons, they are essentially a small fission or conventional nuclear bomb inside of a shell of fusion fuels, originally deuterium and tritium, these days something called lithium deuteride, which apparently reacts absolutely delightfully with water, presumable it reacts even better under the vast heat and significant pressure of a nuclear blast.
Teller loved his nukes, he loved experimenting with them, he loved to see them exploded, he even loved Ronald Reagan stupid Strategic Defense Initiative, Teller died in 2003 at the age of 95, his deep desire to see shit blow up was the reason for his passionate desire to see Project Chariot become a horrible radioactive reality.
Now, for the Project itself, initially Teller’s passion spread like an STD at a festival, until it reached the environmental groups, who basically shat themselves in sheer horror, pointing out that this whole idea would almost certainly just result in massive radioactive damage to the local area, and for once the AEC actually agreed and put the whole mess in “abeyance”, which is a fancy way of not cancelling a project while cancelling the project.
Didn’t help that they were lacking a very important factor for any project in any capitalist country: A buyer, nobody wanted a harbour in the area.
And obviously, it didn’t end this easily, the madmen did several experiment in the area to test how the radiation could potentially spread in the area and then disposed of the test material from the test sites in Nevada, by just burying the whole mess in the ground, and unlike the dwarves of Moria, they did not dig too deep.
They buried the site in 62, thirty years later some bored student found the records in the archives, shat himself and told the Alaskan government, who then shat themselves and basically went straight the site to see what the fuck the old loonies at the AEC had done, the result? Discovered radioactive material less than two feet from the flowing water, no fucking wonder the locals in the nearby Inuit settlement of Cape Hope were all dying of cancer.
The lessons learned? Don’t FUCKING USE NUKES FOR ANYTHING!