In the 1950s as the United States entered the Cold War, the nation began a fixation of developing technology superior to the Soviet Union. This gave way to the space race, the jet age and the rise of more powerful nuclear weapons. Nuclear power seemed to be the source of energy everything was moving towards so why not a nuclear-powered tank?
The Chrysler TV-8 was the first concept for a nuclear-powered tank. It was a very creative design which embodied the look of space age technology of the day. Oddly enough the lightweight frame of the tank would have allowed it to float while traveling through water.
Nuclear power was still in its infancy at the time and the technology was not exactly refined. The other issue at hand was that this tank was going to be placed into combat and if it was destroyed, its nuclear reactor could contaminate the environment. It was a good idea on paper but the potential dangers and excessive costs were too detrimental to the development of the TV-8 nuclear tank.
In the end, the military chose to stay with the tanks it already had rather than taking the risk of untested technology. This video tells the story of the dangers the come with radioactive tanks.