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Nuke US Gulf oil spill: Experts

It seems,extreme situations demand paranoid solutions!

Written by Agencies | Washington |
June 3, 2010 1:37:45 pm

It seems,extreme situations demand paranoid solutions!

Engineering experts have suggested that one way the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be stopped by nuking the well.

The idea has gained fans with each failed attempt to stem the leak and each new setback,reports the New York Times.

“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it,hopefully encasing the oil,” the NYT quoted Matt Simmons,a Houston energy expert and investment banker,as telling Bloomberg News recently.

CNN reporter John Roberts suggested,“Drill a hole,drop a nuke in and seal up the well.”

Stephanie Mueller,a spokeswoman for the Energy Department,said that neither Energy Secretary Steven Chu nor anyone else was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf.

The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table,federal officials said.

“It’s crazy,” one senior official said.

Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically,with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation,but also unwise geo-politically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament.

The atomic option is perhaps the wildest among a flood of ideas proposed by bloggers,scientists and other creative types who have deluged government agencies and BP,the company that drilled the well.

The Unified Command overseeing the Deepwater Horizon disaster features a “suggestions” button on its official Web site and more than 7,800 people have already responded,according to the site.

Among the suggestions: lowering giant plastic pillows to the seafloor and filling them with oil,dropping a huge block of concrete to squeeze off the flow and using magnetic clamps to attach pipes that would siphon off the leaking oil.

Some have also suggested conventional explosives,claiming that oil prospectors on land have used such blasts to put out fires and seal boreholes.

But oil engineers say that dynamite or other conventional explosives risk destroying the wellhead so that the flow could never be plugged from the top.

In theory,the nuclear option seems attractive because the extreme heat might create a tough seal.

An exploding atom bomb generates temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun and,detonated underground,can turn acres of porous rock into a glassy plug,much like a huge stopper in a leaky bottle.

Kevin Roark,a spokesman for Los Alamos in New Mexico,the birthplace of the atomic bomb,said that despite rumors to the contrary,none of the laboratory’s thousands of experts was devising nuclear options for the gulf.

“Nothing of the sort is going on here,” he said in an interview.

A senior Los Alamos scientist said: “It’s not going to happen. Technically,it would be exploring new ground in the midst of a disaster — and you might make it worse.”

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