May 17, 2010

TAMP 'EM UP SOLID:

Nuke the Oil Spill: After nearly a month of failed efforts to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf, BP needs to get serious about destroying its well. Nuclear policy scholar Christopher Brownfield on the benefits of a nuclear explosion. (Christopher Brownfield, 5/17/10, Daily Beast)

[U]sing nuclear weapons, even for peaceful purposes, would be problematic for a president who stood in Prague and declared that the world should rid itself of such devices. If President Obama were to use a nuke to close this well, he would give other states an excuse to seek nuclear weapons of their own. After all, it was an argument for “peaceful nuclear explosions” that allowed India to justify its acquisition of nuclear weapons in the 1970s. We don’t need Iran making the same argument tomorrow. The dilemma seems clear: Either Obama leaves BP in charge of managing its own short-term interests, or he can take charge and stop this spill immediately by pulling the trigger on a nuclear option with severe political and environmental aftershocks.

But there could be be a third option that Obama might bring to the table, once we recognize that BP is just as concerned about salvaging its precious asset as it is about stopping the spill. Our military could potentially use a carefully placed combination of conventional explosives to collapse the well. Our technology is much better than that of the Soviet Union in 1966, so we should be able to make this work without having to go nuclear. I’m confident that the U.S. Navy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and some private-sector organizations could come together and make this happen. The only question is whether Obama will be bold enough to take charge of this problem at the risk of his presidency slipping down the deep, dark well.


Do we even need to ask the question?


MORE:
Russia Suggest Nuclear Explosion to Cut Off Gulf Oil Geyser (CNN, 5/10/10)

During the Soviet years, Russia's communists had to deal with numerous oil disasters and on five different occasions they employed controlled, underground nuclear blasts to quickly solve the problem.

[The] underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel," Pracda reported.

"It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities," added Moscow reporter Julia Ioffe, writing for True/Slant "The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals."

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2010 6:32 AM
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