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Dr. Sludgelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Junk Shotting And Love Teh Bomb

Maybe those wacky Russians had it right and the best chance at actually shutting off the bleeding earth below the once and future Deepwater Horizon platform is to bomb the damn thing shut. From Jeremy Hsu via CSM:

Using a nuclear explosion to try to plug the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might sound like overkill, but a Russian newspaper has suggested just that based on past Soviet successes. Even so, there are crucial differences between the lessons of the past and the current disaster unfolding.

The Russians previously used nukes at least five times to seal off gas well fires. A targeted nuclear explosion might similarly help seal off the oil well channel that has leaked oil unchecked since the sinking of a BP oil rig on April 22, according to a translation of the account in the daily newspaper Komsomoloskaya Pravda by Julia Ioffe of the news website True/Slant.

Weapons labs in the former Soviet Union developed special nukes for use to help pinch off the gas wells. They believed that the force from a nuclear explosion could squeeze shut any hole within 82 to 164 feet (25 to 50 meters), depending on the explosion’s power. That required drilling holes to place the nuclear device close to the target wells.

Yeah, yeah I know …. oooooh spooky nukes! But we have a whole catalog of conventional bunker busters, couldn’t one of these mothers of all bombs (MOABs) do the trick? I don’t know, I am not a deepwater oil well implosion expert. But you know what hasn’t worked? The big top hat, the little top hat, the giant sippy straw, the blow out preventer, toxic dispersant sold by a BP subsidiary and the top kill and junk shot BP blathers about are laughable on their face. The solution ideas to date have been straight out of the Wile E. Coyote Acme School of BP Profitology. And the Ferengi like addiction to oil profit is exactly the issue as BP has clung to every bone headed idiotic play available that will keep their precious oil well viable for production; all the while bleeding out its black death to the Gulf. BP would literally rather kill the Gulf and screw the citizenry than destroy its investment.

Now I first mentioned the bomb idea about a week ago, kind of tongue in cheek, in some of our backstage discussions (the theory is now known as the “bmaz bomb”). But I am not alone. Oh no, not alone at all; there are legitimate people going there too. Christopher J. Brownfield is a former nuclear submarine ranking officer in the US Navy and has a subsequent academic background in international energy policy. Brownfield has the same thought I have regarding the possibility of using conventional explosives to shut the well off:

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.

Would it work? Heck, I dunno. But it sounds a little more plausible than hair brained schemes BP and the government have put their collective heads together to produce so far. I know this, out here in the west they use explosives to seal off mine shafts all the time, and quite effectively. You would think that the right experts could devise a solution that would close off a sufficient portion of the narrow well hole here to seal it permanently.

There is a lot of experience in controlled implosions under a variety of circumstances. Would it be harder a mile under the sea? Sure, but if we have the technology to be drilling there and two miles further down from the sea floor, then we ought to be able to figure this out too. If it destroys BP’s precious well, that is just an extra benefit; they don’t deserve it anyway.

As profound nukulur scholar Major King Kong would say, “Wahoooooooo”. Bomb the sucker!

[graphic by the one and only twolf and thanks to Eli for some terminology help]

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