Grand Junction, Colo. (AP) - An energy company drilling for natural gas near an underground nuclear blast says it won't seek permits to drill closer at least through 2010.
Noble Energy Co. says it's extending its voluntary moratorium on seeking permits within a half-mile of the Project Rulison site in Western Colorado. Drilling that close would trigger a hearing before state regulators.
A nuclear bomb was detonated 8,426 feet below the surface in 1969 to free up natural gas, which was then considered too radioactive to sell.
Federal officials prohibit drilling within 40 acres of the site.
County officials want the Department of Energy to drill test wells to make sure it's safe for energy companies and area residents.
(COPYRIGHT 2009 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)