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How a Nuclear Blast Could Stop Gulf Oil Spill

Beleaguered multinational oil giant, British Petroleum, has tried one fix after another to choke off the oil gusher one mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Top hat, top kill, and five other solutions have all failed.

Now some experts are citing a successful fix that the Soviet Union used to kill runaway wells. According to Russian reports, during the Soviet era engineering experts relied on thermonuclear devices to cap wells that had become oil catastrophes. Presumably, five different incidents were dealt with by detonating low-yield nuclear bombs.

Geologists explain, reports Komsomoloskaya Pravda, that the explosion fuses rock strata and instantaneously seals the bore hole.

Julia Ioffe noted in the publication 'True/Slant' that "It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities.

"The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers." Ioffer added that "subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals."

Ioffe contends that Russia's success in capping runaway oil wells was virtually perfect. Only one failure occurred.

Pravda asserts that although there is a one in five chance a nuke might not seal the well, it's "a gamble the Americans could certainly risk."

But LiveScience's Jeremy Hsu begs to differ. "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."

Meanwhile, Christopher Brownfield, a nuclear expert, concurs with the Russian solution. The former nuclear submarine officer wrote in 'The Daily Beast' that the Russians successfully sealed runaway oil and gas wells underwater on four separate occasions using small nuclear bombs.  Brownfield argues that the US should use a nuclear explosion to “destroy the well and put the matter to rest.”   

Surprisingly, other experts agree with Brownfield and loffe.

Well known energy expert, Matt Simmons, the founder of the energy investment bank Simmons & Company, told Bloomberg News that using a small nuclear bomb to seal the oil gusher is "probably the only thing we can do."

Although such a daring plan might work, none of the experts promoting such a scheme were asked their opinion on how the detonation of a low-yield nuclear bomb in the Gulf of Mexico could pass muster with the US Environmental Protection  Agency.


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