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The U.S Once Planned To Blast An Alternative Suez Canal – Using 520 Nukes

How The US Almost Blasted An Alternative Suez Canal Using 520 Nukes

According to a declassified memorandum, the US pondered using 520 nuclear bombs to carve out a route to the Suez Canal through Israel in the 1960s, Insider reported.

The proposal never materialized, but having an alternate waterway to the Suez Canal could have come in handy in March 2021, when a cargo ship trapped in the tiny channel was obstructing one of the world’s most important trade routes.

The 1963 memorandum, disclosed in 1996, stated that the proposal would have required 520 nuclear bombs to carve out the waterway. According to the memorandum, the “usage of nuclear explosives for excavation of the Dead Sea canal across the Negev desert” is recommended.

The document came from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, supported by the US Department of Energy. It implied that “a sea-level canal 160 miles long through Israel would be an interesting application of nuclear excavation. However, “Normal excavation methods would be prohibitively expensive,” according to the memorandum.

“It appears that nuclear bombs could be useful in this case.”

According to the memo, “such a canal would be a strategically useful alternative to the current Suez Canal and would most likely contribute significantly to economic development.”

A route through Israel’s Negev desert was suggested to connect the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Aqaba and provide access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

But according to the memo, one factor that had been ignored was “political feasibility,” as it was likely that the Arab nations that border Israel would vigorously oppose the construction of such a canal.

According to Forbes, the Americans were also considering using nuclear bombs to dig other canals. The state considered the idea of widening the Panama Canal by cutting through Central America.

It appears that plans were developed to use this method to build a canal in Central America, Forbes stated. However, when the US learned that 27 PNE trials had seriously radioactively damaged the environment, the PNE program remained experimental. In 1974, the Atomic Energy Commission was disbanded.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is fully operational. The organization is dedicated to “ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” according to its website.

Less than ten years had passed since the Suez crisis, a conflict over control of a strategic waterway that marked a turning point in the Cold War.