Why Nuking the Oil Spill Is Not the Answer

Going green, Renewable energy — By on June 30, 2010 at 6:10 am
tsar Why Nuking the Oil Spill Is Not the Answer

Should we nuke the oil spill?

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.

billclinton2004dnc1 Why Nuking the Oil Spill Is Not the Answer

Former President Bill Clinton calling for bombs in the Gulf?

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 A Northern Gannet 375 Why Nuking the Oil Spill Is Not the AnswerDeepwater 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.

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10 Comments

  1. anon says:

    The physicists have no problem with the idea. When faced with a reality this brutal, its time to listen to their apparently nihilistic ideas.

  2. Roberta says:

    Well, anon, maybe the physicists don’t have a problem with it but many of the oil geologists do. Virtually all the experts on the geology of oil and deep sea drilling say that an explosion in the gulf is very very risky because of the unique composition of the seabed there. There is a good chance bombing or nuking the spill would not close the well, but would create thousands of unstable fissures in the seafloor spewing even more oil– such a scenario would make Armageddon look tame.

    More to the point BP does not want to do it and the well belongs to BP not to the American Government or to the other subcontractors on the rig. They seem to feel that the relief wells are the best bet. So we have no choice but to wait for the relief wells. Let’s hope they work:-)

  3. Albert says:

    Roberta, are you implying that BP is a sovereign entity? The rig itself is the property of BP but the well, and the land they are drilling on, is being leased to them, as they are paying the US Govt money to drill there.

    So, more to my point, the American Government does own the well. Regardless of that fact, this is a man made natural disaster and while I agree that nuking is not in the best interest of the environment, we should be putting pressure on BP for screwing up and hastening their “fixes”.

  4. Russ says:

    The US government needs to leave this alone, unless BP nears bankruptcy. The moment we (the US taxpayers, via our government) “override” BP’s engineers is the moment that the entire problem becomes ours; BP would get to duck all future responsibility for the mess.

  5. Roberta says:

    No, Albert, I am not implying that BP is a sovereign entity– though it is an international corporation which sometimes seems like the same thing (that was a joke– don’t rebut that remark OK? or we’ll start down another whole path:-) that’s another post for another day!

    Whatever the legal niceties between own and lease are, BP has control of the well at the moment and is also taking the spear for Halliburton and Trans Ocean and whoever else is involved. They broke it and they see it as their job to fix it.

    The American Government, whether it legally can or not, must not over-ride BP for the reasons Russ states and a few others as well. While watching wildlife die and beaches turn black may make the idea of bombing the oilspill look attractive to laypeople, scientists who know this particular situation have all advised against it. BP is not stupid– if it would end the problem tomorrow and were safe to do, they would do it. They don’t like losing money, I assure you:-)

  6. Travis says:

    Wow, russ, really? Have you considered that maybe this is a problem that’s more important than simple finances?

  7. Roberta says:

    Here are a couple of informative links guys on just what the risks of nuking ( or just blowing up) the oilspill are.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/us/03nuke.html

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/07/03/nuke-the-oil-spill.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  8. wow this is retarded says:

    Ok. First off those links are for NUKING the well.

    Clinton and many others state that nuking is not the way as it is too powerful.

    but a few small squibs in the right places should cause it to collapse upon itself. with the pressure of the water it should make it a breeze.

    this is all about money. that is why BP refuses to take this measure. they do not care. they want their money from the oil. that is what bp wants that is what they will get. because of people posting stuff like this.

    people need to remember explosives do not have to be in the tons of power to do a job.

    we do not use nukes when we blow up a building for demolition. why would we use a nuke in the instance?

    from what i have gotten for information and this is old data. it would take just 2 small bunker busters to seal the hole.

    but thats right you all know better. the media knows better. tree huggers know better.

    why not let a physicist do their jobs. that is why they do. they study physics. its part of their title.

    why not use roadrunner and simulate the outcomes?

    why not use a grid like BOINC to run the simulations?

    yup thats right again. you all know better than the people who spent years of their lives studying this. all because you think organic is better than genetically modified foods.

    heres another good one for you organic doesnt mean squat. read the laws and look into the farms you use. then look at their natural pesticides. they do more damage than DDT did.

    open your eyes and learn something in life.

    we all die that is a fact.enjoy life and quit being so stuck up. you help no one by these types of articles. all you do is beg people to see it your way.

    grow up and eat a cow!

  9. Roberta says:

    Wow, retarded, you need to learn some manners. Did you have a bad day at school today? I bet you are a big boy now– in fourth grade at least :-)

    I don’t feed trolls, but if I were your mother I would wash your mouth out with soap and tell you to keep it shut until you can say something that makes sense and isn’t insulting.

  10. Joanna says:

    @wow this is retarded: Unless BP possesses the bunker busters you speak of, and unless *BP* has capable physicists in its employ to accurately direct them to the pipe spewing oil, your rantings sound like the same cowboy “Bring ‘Em On!” bravado that got the Gulf into this mess in the first place. The disaster in the Gulf is BP’s screwup and it’s BP’s responsibility to fix it.

    If your “solution” is valid, please post it to BP’s headquarters in London, not on a thinking people’s blog like Peachy Green. Which unlike you, btw, is NOT “begging people to see it [PG's] way”. Please crawl back into the cave you came from and leave the heavy lifting to grownups.

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