Over a month ago, Russian scientists suggested that nuking the BP oil spill would stop the gusher and end the environmental damage. The Russians suggested a surgical nuclear strike and claimed to have used the technique on five of their own oil wells. They even offered to do it for us.
In spite of lots of internet chatter, the offer was declined.
Now Bill Clinton has gotten in on the act and brought the whole idea to life again. While he was in South Africa for the World Cup, the former President took part in a media round table hosted by CNN where he made a casual remark about the BP oil spill that got captured as a sound byte and sent around the world.
It got the pundits speculating again and brought out the idea once again, albeit in terms of bunker busters rather than nukes– but a bomb is a bomb.
Here’s a quote and you can watch the video to hear what Bill has to say yourself:
“Unless we send the Navy down deep to blow up the well and cover the leak with piles and piles of rocks and debris, which may become necessary – you don’t have to use a nuclear weapon by the way, I’ve seen all that stuff, just blow it up – unless we’re going to do that, we are dependent on the technical expertise of these people from BP.”
I want to go on record along with a lot of other responsible people in saying that bombing the gushing well, either with nuclear or conventional weaponry is definitely NOT a good idea and here’s why.
Fine and dandy that in Soviet times the Russians were able to nuke five oil and natural gas leaks into submission. Did anybody mention that those leaks were not 13,000 feet under water with a very fragile and brittle sea bed to be taken into consideration? To drop a bomb of any sort in the Gulf of Mexico is enormously risky because of the brittle, unstable sea bed. An explosion would be like an earthquake, shattering the sea bed and creating fissures where oil under pressure could come spilling out from Lord only knows how many places. Oh yes, and nobody knows how much oil is down there, but it is definitely millions of barrels or enough to turn the Gulf of Mexico into a dead sea.
In addition, the only people who have specific data on the composition of the sea bed near the Deepwater Horizon fiasco are the BP people who masterminded the construction of this well, and they aren’t talking because this is their proprietary, corporate information and since they are being sued–well, you get the idea.
Then there is the fact that BP owns the oil well. They have an investment to protect and shareholders to answer to. I can’t imagine they are going to be enthusiastic about bombs away tactics and I can’t imagine the American government overriding them. At the moment cordial cooperation is the name of the game.
We aren’t there yet. Perhaps we never will be. Clinton was just shooting his mouth off and exploring worst case scenarios. BP is spending $100 million a day on capping the well, collecting the oil and minimizing the damage. There is a good chance that the two relief wells the company is currently drilling will work, but we won’t know till August. Hard as it may be, the wisest course is to wait.
In the meantime, the Obama Administration needs to allow foreign flag vessels into the Gulf of Mexico so that more skimmers and supertankers can pick up more of the oil as it rises to the surface. BP, Halliburton, and Trans Ocean all need to step up to the plate and pay for their share of the damages. We need to clean up the birds and the beaches, but we definitely do NOT need to nuke the oilspill. It will only make matters worse and they are bad enough already.