26
   

The Gulf Oil Spill in a Nutshell

 
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:01 am
@edgarblythe,
it's been suggested from other sources, BP can't really suggest it, unless they have a bomb they're not telling anyone about (and i suppose given the cut throat world of corporate scum baggery it's not impossible)

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:02 am
@djjd62,
The 'biggest bang' part I can appreciate, it's the 'for the buck' part that makes me uncomfortable. It's not just the cheapest, biggest bang, right?
High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:03 am
@djjd62,
Well OK, I'll take this as an apology - you're off ignore, but please try and keep in mind this truly is a massive catastrophe. As to will the nuclear option work, I don't know for sure. Nobody does. We do know what has failed so far and know options keep shrinking while the catastrophe keeps expanding.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:05 am
@littlek,
i wouldn't think it's cheap, but pound for pound the smallest container for maximum power, i would guess it would be easier to position and work with than the equivalent amount of traditional explosive, hell Juliet set one off with a rock at the bottom of a pit Razz
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:06 am
@High Seas,
uh oh, better change my sig, if we're gonna play nice Cool

i have a hard time taking things seriously, but i'll try
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:20 am
Nothing like a major oil spill to unite sworn enemies.
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:20 am
@littlek,
Because there's no known combination of conventional explosives that can exercise enough pressure one mile underwater to seal the BP gusher - or at least no combination that wouldn't also destroy all living creatures within a vast radius and poison the water column up to the surface. Countless studies exist on related underwater peaceful nuclear explosions - the problem with applying these solutions is political, not technical.
Quote:
# Development of a family of nuclear excavation explosives that had TNT-equivalent yields from 1 kiloton to over 100 kilotons and that would release only a relatively low quantity of fission products into the atmosphere. These "clean" nuclear explosives would have been used to excavate a new Panama Canal, had that project gone forward.

https://www.llnl.gov/str/Mind.html
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:34 am
@edgarblythe,
BP knows plenty about explosives - all drillers use them to test subsoil structures (it's 3-dimensional mathematical modeling, similar to an MRI) to locate oil and gas formations. And I would hope at least one person in the current administration reads published reports, like the one I linked. Technically, the downside risk of the nuclear option is minimal, the payoff gigantic. Politically - it would take courage, not a notable characteristic of this admin so far.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 09:57 am
By Jeremy Hsu, LiveScience Senior Writer / May 13, 2010

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.



A first test in the fall of 1966 proved successful in sealing up an underground gas well in southern Uzbekistan, and so the Russians used nukes four more times for capping runaway wells.

"The second 'success' gave Soviet scientists great confidence in the use of this new technique for rapidly and effectively controlling ran away gas and oil wells," according to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report on the Soviet Union's peaceful uses of nuclear explosions.

A last attempt took place in 1981, but failed perhaps because of poor positioning, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report.

Komsomoloskaya Pravda suggested that the United States might as well take a chance with a nuke, based on the historical 20-percent failure rate. Still, the Soviet experience with nuking underground gas wells could prove easier in retrospect than trying to seal the Gulf of Mexico’s oil well disaster that's taking place 5,000 feet below the surface.

The Russians were using nukes to extinguish gas well fires in natural gas fields, not sealing oil wells gushing liquid, so there are big differences, and this method has never been tested in such conditions.

Besides the possibility of failure, there are always risks when dealing with radiation, though material from the DOE report suggests these are minimal since the radiation would be far underground
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 10:07 am
@edgarblythe,
There's an added advantage to the nuclear option when it comes to the Gulf of Mexico: every inch of it has been thoroughly studied, going down several thousand feet under the seabed. I got to run, guys, if you want to read up on the collection of seismic data, start here, and a happy Memorial Day to all.
http://www.naturalgas.org/images/offshore_seismic_exploration.gif
http://www.naturalgas.org/naturalgas/exploration.asp
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 10:08 am
@edgarblythe,
I suspect the real risk would be accurately predicting the physical effects of the explosion in very deep water with buried petroleum at high natural pressure beneath the sea.

Radiation effects would be negligible as four feet of water is about a "tenth thickness" for the penetrating gamma radiation. That means the ratiation intensity is reduced by a factor of ten every four feet. Radiation would be undetectable beyond the immediate devastating zone of the explosion.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 10:15 am
To me, a nuclear explosion in this situation is very risky. Apparently it is to the persons concerned with making the decision.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 02:59 pm
i still can't believe that BP doesn't like this fake twitter account
BPGlobalPR Best part of the BP Memorial Day Picnic? The custom made oily dunk tank! So far we've dunked 4 ducks, a dolphin, 2 otters and @bpTerry!

(@bpTerry is a fake spokesman for he fake BPGlobalPR)
0 Replies
 
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 03:21 pm
@edgarblythe,
if a nuclear explosion is indeed what should be used to stop the leak , the U.S. government ( and americans ) would take the risk off B.P.'s shoulders , i believe .

if it goes wrong there might be some very unhappy americans ( after all the U.S. is not russia ) .

which government official/politician would become the fall-guy if it
" backfires " - so to speak ?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 03:36 pm
I don't know what they should do next. But, if I were in charge, I would not use a bomb.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 05:25 pm

Here is one person's solution
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 05:58 pm
@hamburgboy,
hamburgboy wrote:
which government official/politician would become the fall-guy if it "backfires" - so to speak?


Well, I'm 99% positive that it would require Obama's explicit approval and likely activating some 'nuclear-football' code entry/key turning.

I would think that would probably make him the most responsible, as it would ultimately make it his decision (and his alone).
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 06:53 pm
@maporsche,
Yeah. There are three possibilites, all of which represent: they bomb it and the flow stops, they bomb it and the flow works, and finally, they make the attempt and find out our bombs can't be relied upon.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 06:56 pm
@maporsche,
This being a purely civilian app involving only a tactical nuke, not a strategic weapon, the DoE secretary's approval may suffice - he's in charge of nukes, not the DoD. Theater commanders in wartime do have considerable latitude with nuclear ammo (used by 205mm guns), but I've no idea of the proper chain of command in this case. But if Obama's approval of exercising the nuclear option can be obtained - and it would have to be explicit, and in writing, whatever the codes requirements - and the option succeeds in sealing the BP well, he will have earned himself a second term.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 07:01 pm
@roger,
It's hard to miss if no launch is required - no trajectory calculations needed, no CEP, no countermeasures to worry about. I don't know about the additional plumes being reported, though, this may take more than one tactical weapon. BP's market cap has fallen by a quarter since this explosion btw, and if they can obtain a cap on their legal liability (the federal government has immunity) they will be the object of a takeover bid soon.
 

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