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Reuters Special Report: Should BP Nuke Its Leaking Well?

Tyler Durden's picture


Finally Matt Simmons' unorthodox theory is gaining some significant mainstream interest. Full article from Reuters.

Should BP nuke its leaking well?

His face wracked
by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse
tobacco, the former long-time Russian Minister of nuclear energy and
veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil
leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

"A nuclear explosion over the
leak," he says nonchalantly puffing a cigarette as he sits in a
conference room at the Institute of Strategic Stability, where he is a
director. "I don't know what BP is waiting for, they are wasting their
time. Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and the
problem is solved."

A nuclear fix
to the leaking well has been touted online and in the occasional
newspaper op-ed for weeks now. Washington has repeatedly dismissed the
idea and BP execs say they are not considering an explosion -- nuclear
or otherwise. But as a series of efforts to plug the 60,000 barrels of
oil a day gushing from the sea floor have failed, talk of an extreme
solution refuses to die.

For some,
blasting the problem seems the most logical answer in the world.
Mikhailov has had a distinguished career in the nuclear field, helping
to close a Soviet Union program that used nuclear explosions to seal gas
leaks. Ordinarily he's an opponent of nuclear blasts, but he says an
underwater explosion in the Gulf of Mexico would
not be harmful and could cost no more than $10 million. That compares
with the $2.35 billion BP has paid out in cleanup and compensation costs
so far. "This option is worth the money," he says.

And it's not just Soviet boffins. Milo
Nordyke, one of the masterminds behind U.S. research into peaceful
nuclear energy in the 1960s and '70s says a nuclear explosion is a
logical last-resort solution for BP and the government. Matthew Simmons,
a former energy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush and the
founder of energy investment-banking firm Simmons & Company
International, is another calling for the nuclear option.

Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton has
voiced support for the idea of an explosion to stem the flow of oil,
albeit one using conventional materials rather than nukes. "Unless we
send the Navy down deep to blow up the well and cover the leak with
piles and piles and piles of rock and debris, which may become necessary
... unless we are going to do that, we are dependent on the technical
expertise of these people from BP," Clinton told the Fortune/Time/CNN
Global Forum in South Africa on June 29.

was picking up on an idea mooted by Christopher Brownfield in June.
Brownfield is a one-time nuclear submarine officer, a veteran of the
Iraq war (he volunteered in 2006) and now a nuclear policy researcher at
Columbia University. He is also one of a number of scientists whose
theories rely not on nuclear bombs -- he did toy with that thought for a
while -- but on conventional explosives that would implode the well
and, if not completely plug it with crushed rock, at least bring the
flow of oil under control. "It's kind of like stepping on a garden hose
to kink it," Brownfield says. "You may not cut off the flow entirely but
it would greatly reduce the flow."


Using nuclear blasts
for peaceful ends was a key plank of Cold War policy in both the United
States and the Soviet Union. In the middle of last century, both
countries were motivated by a desire to soften the image of the era's
weapon of choice.

Washington had
big plans to use peaceful nuclear explosions to build an additional
Panama Canal, carve a path for an inter-state highway through mountains
in the Mojave Desert and connect underwater aquifers in Arizona. But the
experimental plans were dropped as authorities learned more about the
ecological dangers of surface explosions.

Soviet program, known as Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy,
was launched in 1958. The project saw 124 nuclear explosions for such
tasks as digging canals and reservoirs, creating underground storage
caverns for natural gas and toxic waste, exploiting oil and gas deposits
and sealing gas leaks. It was finally mothballed by Mikhail Gorbachev
in 1989.

The Soviets first used a
nuclear blast to seal a gas leak in 1966. Urtabulak, one of its prized
gas-fields in Uzbekistan, had caught fire and raged for three years.
Desperate to save the cherished reserves, Yefim Slavsky, then Minister
of Light Industry, ordered nuclear engineers to use the most powerful
weapon in their arsenal.

Minister said, 'Do it. Put it out. Explode it,'" recalls Albert
Vasilyev, a young engineer and a rising star in the project who now
teaches at the Lenin Technical Institute in Moscow.

Vasilyev remembers the technology behind
the program with obvious pride. "The explosion takes place deep
underground," he says. "We pinch the pipe, break it and the pipe
collapses." According to Vasilyev, the blast at Urtabulak sealed the
well shut leaving only an empty crater.


In all, the Soviets
detonated five nuclear devices to seal off runaway gas wells --
succeeding three or four times, depending on who you talk to. "It worked
quite well for them," says Nordyke, who authored a detailed account of
Soviet explosions in a 2000 paper. "There is no reason to think it
wouldn't be fine (for the United States)."

not everything went smoothly. Vasilyev admits the program "had two
misfires". The final blast in 1979 was conducted near the Ukrainian city
of Kharkov. "The closest houses were just about 400 meters away,"
Vasilyev recalls. "So this was ordered to be the weakest of the
explosions. Even the buildings and the street lamps survived."
Unfortunately, the low capacity of the device failed to seal the well
and the gas resurfaced.

Koldobsky, a fellow nuclear physicist from the Moscow Engineering and
Physics Institute, insists the peaceful nuclear explosions were safe.
The people who worked on the program "were brilliant professionals", he
says. "They had a culture of safety, which did not accept the word
'maybe', but only accepted the words 'obligation' and 'instruction.' Any
derivation from these in nuclear technologies is a crime."

Still, he concedes, "there were different
scenarios of what happened after an explosion." At his first blast in a
Turkmen gas field in 1972, "the stench was unbearable," he says. "And
the wind was blowing toward a nearby town." He closes his narrow lips
into a smile as if refusing to say more.

shrugs off any suggestion of fear or emotion when the bomb exploded. "I
felt nothing. I was just doing my job."


Not everybody is so
sanguine about the Soviet experience. Speaking on condition of
anonymity, an expert from Russia's largest oil
exporter Rosneft, urges the United States to ignore calls for the atomic
option. "That would bring Chernobyl to America," he says.

Vladimir Chuprov from Greenpeace's Moscow
office is even more insistent that BP not heed the advice of the veteran
Soviet physicists. Chuprov disputes the veterans' accounts of the
peaceful explosions and says several of the gas leaks reappeared later.
"What was praised as a success and a breakthrough by the Soviet Union is
in essence a lie," he says. "I would recommend that the international
community not listen to the Russians.
Especially those of them that offer crazy ideas. Russians are keen on
offering things, especially insane things."

Minister Mikhailov agrees that the USSR had to give up its program
because of problems it presented. "I ended the program because I knew
how worthless this all was," he says with a sigh. "Radioactive material
was still seeping through cracks in the ground and spreading into the
air. It wasn't worth it."

he says, momentarily hard to see through a cloud of smoke from his
cigarettes, "I see no other solution for sealing leaks like the one in
the Gulf of Mexico."

The problem, he goes on, is that "Americans
just don't know enough about nuclear explosions to solve this problem
... But they should ask us -- we have institutes, we have professionals
who can help them solve this. Otherwise BP are just torturing the people
and themselves."


Nordyke too believes the nuclear option
should be on the table. After seeing nine U.S. nuclear explosions and
standing behind the control board of one, he estimates that a nuclear
bomb would have roughly an 80 to 90 percent chance of successfully
blocking the oil. According to his estimates, it would have to be an
explosion of around 30 kilotons, equivalent to roughly two Hiroshima
bombs or three times as big as Mikhailov's estimate. The explosion would
also need to remain at least 3 to 4 miles away from other offshore
wells in the area.

The bomb, says
Nordyke, would be dropped in a secondary well approximately 60-70 feet
away from the leaking shaft. There it would create a large cavity filled
with gas. The gas would melt the surrounding rock, crush it and press
it into the leaking well to close it shut.

the BP well is thousands of feet deeper than those closed in the Soviet
Union, Nordyke says the extra depth shouldn't make a difference. He
also says that so far below the ground, not much difference exists in
onshore or underwater explosions -- even though the latter have never
been tried.

Nordyke says fears
that radiation could escape after the explosion are unfounded. The hole
would be about 8 inches in diameter and, despite the shockwave, the
radiation should remain captured. Even in the case of radiation escape,
he says, its dispersed effect would be less than that of floating oil


But don't expect an explosion under the Gulf of Mexico any time
soon. Even a conventional blast could backfire and cause more problems.
There is a chance any blast could fracture the seabed and cause an
underground blowout, according to Andy Radford, petroleum engineer and
American Petroleum Institute senior policy adviser on offshore issues.
The U.S. Department of Energy has no plans to use explosives "due to the
obvious risks involved," according to a DOE spokeswoman.

There's also the question of time.
Preparations for a nuclear explosion could take up to half-a-year; BP
has said it will have a relief well in place to stop the leak by August.
"I think it has to be considered as only the last resort," Nordyke
says. But "they ought to be thinking about it."

Would he be willing to work on such an
operation? "I'd be happy to help," he says.


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Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:22 | 449217 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

He'd be happy to help make it a lot lot worse for us.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:32 | 449240 Whizbang
Whizbang's picture

Yeah, a tsunami along the entire coast would go really well...

"In soviet russia...."

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:37 | 449249 Ragnarok
Ragnarok's picture

In Soviet Russia well bomb you.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:28 | 449935 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

You need to explode a whole lot more than 30 kilotons to cause a tsunami, especially at this depth. Risk of fracturing seabed is the real reason why this option is not on the table.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:28 | 449370 Chicago_CTA
Chicago_CTA's picture



We should have a CONVENTIONAL DYNAMITE plan in place if BP's relief wells are not successful in early August.


It's an obvious solution.


BP = Brown Poison

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:57 | 449432 butchee
butchee's picture


BP = Big Problem

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:47 | 449701 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

BP = Black Plague

Mad Max Keiser...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:38 | 449399 thesapein
thesapein's picture

Waiting for the problem to go away...

Let's kick the oil can down the road some more, see how big it can get first.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:08 | 449748 Divided States ...
Divided States of America's picture

If they nuke it, then basically they writing off the value of this asset, no?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:54 | 449982 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

The moment platform exploded and drowned and oil started gushing out @ whatever thousands barrel per hour, this asset turned into liability for BP. So, to be precise, they would be writing off a liability, one of the worst places to be these days after the Gulf itself is BP's balance sheet.

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 09:11 | 450631 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture


Sat, 07/03/2010 - 09:10 | 450632 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

"This asset" = The Gulf of Mexico

Capitalism commodifies everything; then it destroys it.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:22 | 449220 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

Either way we get a dead zone in the gulf. It is just a matter of choice of 'slow death' versus 'quick painless death'

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:46 | 449276 tmosley
tmosley's picture

A lot of people seem to have trouble keeping things in perspective.  The oil will make most or all of the gulf a dead zone eventually.  A nuclear explosion will kill a bunch of dead fish within it's three hundred meter blast radius, and the fallout will be diluted to background levels within a week.  

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:30 | 449376 CPL
CPL's picture

Cute.  From the era of duck and cover.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:04 | 449879 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

HAHA!! too funny;

Here, hold this stick of dynamite. You'd better squint your eyes though, it will get a little bright...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:14 | 449335 CPL
CPL's picture

Sure...why not.  It's either contain it or let it bleed out.  At this point it doesn't really matter what they do.  Fuck'ed is fucked.  What isn't being mentioned is the Russians did it 5 times ON LAND.  Easier to dig a hole, no hurricanes, people see what they are drilling, etc.


I'm trying to figure out how they are going to get the nuke down that deep without it collapsing like a tin can with the water pressure on it.  The ROV's they are using are built pretty well, but at that pressure they are like tinker toys.  Best of luck to them.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:38 | 449400 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Nukes don't need air, unlike submarines.  You can't crush one any more than you could crush a ball of lead.  You also don't necessarily have to bury it t do the job.  The water will contain the blast almost as well as the ground beneath (being an incompressible liquid).

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:22 | 450040 CPL
CPL's picture


Sort of, to kill the well they have to dig to non-porous depths and (as George Clinton would say) Drop Da Bomb! 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:42 | 449828 knukles
knukles's picture

'Bout that time ta make a decision. 

Ever so seriously, as we've transited into a new era of global governance, peace, human dignity, ecological and astrological harmony, love and prosperity, we should ask others for their input as to the Next Right Thing to Do. 

Why not ask the Taliban and Ajdimaninutjob for their opinions, stretching for the return of our generous outreach for their Hearts and Minds? Or bring it to the UN and allow that organization to display it's boundless foresight, knowledge, care and Altruism?  After all, it is One World Now. (Separate from as in airline miles.) Branch out to our Fellow Travellers.  Place our hearts, minds and future in the hands of the Benevolent Others, the Omnipotent "Them". 

But alas, Fucked is as Fucked does.  
As Joe said to the fellow's "Lower taxes" response when asked what he wanted for a piece of pie; "Don't be a smart ass."  


Sat, 07/03/2010 - 09:15 | 450636 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

You could also ask Avgidor Lieberman or Benjamin Netanyahoooo for advice.

But I don't know how ethnic cleansing would help BP here.

(Now maybe off the shores of occupied Palestine . . . )

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:25 | 449225 4shzl
4shzl's picture

BP = BK.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:27 | 449227 Mako
Mako's picture

If the relief well does not work by September BP = BK.   A nuke might or might not work, if it will not work... this thing could bleed for 30-50 years.

The UK will have to temporarily backstop loses until the day the rest of the system collapses and they will just wipe their hands clean of the mess at that point.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:58 | 449437 butchee
butchee's picture

Awesome....william banzai could redo the logo!!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:27 | 449228 megatoxic
megatoxic's picture

This kind of stuff makes my bear-sense tingle.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:28 | 449644 Edmon Plume
Edmon Plume's picture

Chris Matthews, is that you?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:58 | 449723 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Douch Bag Matthews is hiding under his desk urinating all over himself afraid militia members and tea baggers are coming to get him...

Matthews: "Oh no people with guns!" <pee>

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:29 | 449231 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

"Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and the problem is solved."


Russian efficiency - love it!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:43 | 449262 DosZap
DosZap's picture

I have advocated the same thing, this is not NEW science........

The Rooskies have done this before, and with sucess.

You nuke it, your melt the surrounding sand/gravel formations, collapse it in on itself..Should equal plug..........

What's the risk ratio, compared to a friggin geyser, killing the entire Gulf and beyond for decades?.

Underwater nukes have been set off probably a 100 times over the past 50yrs.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:20 | 449346 CPL
CPL's picture

Yeah, it's been done.  Bikini Atoll is currently unhabitable and Hiroshima still has the highest cancer rates in Japan, but it should be all right.


And it's not under water: it's underwater, then drill another hole, shovel the nuke into the hole, then blow up the hole hoping that the area the core hits isn't molten lava because the area called Mexico sits on the fault lines.


If it all goes well, we should be drilling again in no time.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:41 | 449523 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

Screw Mexico.  Go for it.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:53 | 449979 CPL
CPL's picture

Yeah but we hit Jamacia, Haiti, Cuba...there are a couple more places in the area than Florida contrary to what the news would make people believe.  Where will we ever go for our two week long all inclusive vacations???


They eat out of that water, so do we.  Then again, the optics of today is food comes from grocery stores and 7-11.  Nuke it.  Won't bug me any.  I'm in Northern Ontario on a farm, if it gets me to the point where the zones change enough i can grow oranges, who needs Florida then?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:31 | 449236 spekulatn
spekulatn's picture

"Give us da money Labofski"

"We take its all"

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:32 | 449237 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

My vote is that we just nuke BP. These clowns belong in jail.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:12 | 449744 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

If you mean yachting off of Martha's Vineyard, slurping Dom Perignon and caviar from Anna Chapman's snatch...

...with Jamie, Lloyd and Obummer celebrating $$$Billions in naked shorts and CDS profits from the gulf disaster...

Then yes they are in prison...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:33 | 449243 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

I got a crazy teacher he wears dark glasses.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:40 | 449255 wafflehead
wafflehead's picture

they should just call the russians and let them come and nuke it. That way if anything goes wrong Obama can blame the russian to distract attention from his incompetence.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:05 | 449447 Scooby Dooby Doo
Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

I was going to say something similar. I was talking with my moms sisters father and I said "why don't the Russians just nuke the well without permissions?"

My moms sisters father said "Why you dumb canine, that would be an act of wa-wa-war".

Then my aunts cousin Thelma said "No it wouldn't".

And I said "Scooby Dooby Doo"!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:15 | 449760 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Here is a scooby snack... If you leave one more of those mondo piles in the drive way or piss on my rims one more time...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:49 | 450073 Scooby Dooby Doo
Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

If you get a chance give me a call:
800-654-3550 code:ACLANT

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 20:21 | 450247 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

If I call... will I step in a mondo pile of scooby dog doo?

Llike the time I caught you peeing right on my newspaper...

And I chased you out of the front yard with a broom and right before I could swat you in the nut sack...

I slid on a scooby dog doo mondo pile in the drive way...

And Marla went: "Slide..."

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 22:47 | 450397 Scooby Dooby Doo
Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

Maybe the problem is...

1) You forgot to add an S to the code that I gave you? (A common mistake).

2) You do not have our modulator to enter the code? It has to be our modulator.

3) I was very wrong about your ability to communicate with us.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:42 | 449256 Rogerwilco
Rogerwilco's picture

Shouldn't we let them finish the relief well first? If the relief well doesn't stop the flow, then the other options are active. I wish people would stop the drama-queen nonsense about the dangers of using a nuke. We're talking about a tiny (kilotons - it has to fit in an 8" diameter pipe) weapon placed a mile below the seabed. There would be no tsunami or radioactive shrimp.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:46 | 449265 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Stuffing a tactical nuke down the pipe with a 70000 psi backflow might be a little challenging...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:47 | 449280 Rogerwilco
Rogerwilco's picture

The nuke goes in the relief well (or similar), not the one that's flowing.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:56 | 449304 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

While I agree with what you've said I would be concerned about the potential "Gas land" problem in which you end up with thousands of small leaks through fissures in the fractured rock.

It would be like the Russians not to mention that little problem.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:24 | 449361 thesapein
thesapein's picture

But that is why the nuke option looks to be the best. Set the explosion(s) around areas of the sea floor that you want to be solidified, kind of like turning leaking sand into solid glass, yo.

That little problem is exactly the whole reason behind the plan.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:29 | 449375 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

How many of these nuclear explosions are you proposing?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:29 | 450048 thesapein
thesapein's picture

Oh, that's just me thinking that smaller ones spread out is better than one big one for getting the same sized area. But how many depends on how thorough you want to be. Leaving some amount of "natural" seepage might be okay.

I really hate the idea of doing this, but I hate it less than what we're allowing to continue.

I'm going to go now. 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:29 | 449372 SV
SV's picture

I'm not a geologist, but my knowledge of nukes would indicate the heat and pressure would make a good part the rock around that blast site into glass.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:38 | 449517 tj3
tj3's picture

Yeah it's great it works!


Until the glass collapses.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 19:56 | 450239 maddy10
maddy10's picture

Yeah, brittle glass at pressures of 70000 psi LOL 

Next idea please!

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 00:48 | 450471 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Bulletproof Plexiglass Bitches!!!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:25 | 449632 Augustus
Augustus's picture

If you read the entire article, you can find that some of them are truthful enough to mention the problems with it.  Evidently the ones they nuked are still leaking.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:20 | 449344 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Moist intelligent commentary. Whether a nuke would work depends on precise placement and geological structure. The russians are a bit too smug. They had perfect conditions to work with.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:46 | 449278 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Yes, LAST resort..........

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:34 | 449386 thesapein
thesapein's picture

Why save the best for last?

We have a fix, we should use it.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:02 | 449442 Joe Shmoe
Joe Shmoe's picture

I just think the whole discussion is kind of ludicrous.  Whether it would work or not is beside the point.  What US politician wants to go down as the one who nuked his own back yard?  Fuck, people can't even agree to put up wind farms out at sea, how the fuck are they going to agree to this?  

I agree with your sentiment, just don't think it's politically going to happen.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:47 | 449281 Assetman
Assetman's picture

Exactly.  The relief well option definately WILL definitely play out first-- and we quite frankly will not know the degree of success with that until September.

If the relief well becomes a "major fail", then the nuke option is certainly on the table-- but why even discuss it now, when we are at least 3 months from "Plan C"???

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:59 | 449316 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"....but why even discuss it now, when we are at least 3 months from "Plan C"???"

Because the public consciousness needs to be gradually conditioned to the idea. If it does become necessary in 3 or 4 months, the idea will already be old and understood by the public. Meaning more acceptable than if it was suddenly sprung upon an unaware population.

Advance public relations ground work is being laid. If it's not needed, the White House can say "Thank God" we didn't need to use the bomb". If it's needed, the White House can say "Despite our best efforts, we MUST use the bomb".

From a political point of view, there is no down side letting others talk about worse case scenerios.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:20 | 449347 Assetman
Assetman's picture

CD, I must say you've made a very solid point... but the politicos will do themselves better by trying to divert attention away from Plan C, and instead, prepare for Iran -- or the next version of QE when the S&P is at 550.

The backwash politcally on the nuke option, is that if it works-- everyone will complain on why didn't they try this sooner rather than allow a big gash to go unfettered for 6 months.  Try having that taste in your mouth 6 weeks before the November elections.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:44 | 449408 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

There is no good outcome, only better or worse outcomes. I agree that political diversions are the best solution from a political point of view. And your list is a start.

As far as the bad taste goes, if setting off the bomb is ultimately needed, it won't even be acknowledged until after the elections. Both the government and BP will have Plans "C" through "M" ready for discussion and implementation before they go with plan "N" as in nuclear.

But they won't dare admit defeat using conventional solutions until after the elections. Even then, I suspect if it's needed, it will be put off until after that all important economic event called Christmas shopping season is finished.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:28 | 449645 Augustus
Augustus's picture

What is the report on the flow measurement device you found through Google?  Have you used one on a blowout before so you inow it is accurate?  What was the method used for calibration?  Are you trying to hide the solution you claim to have found?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:23 | 449779 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You talking to the wrong person. CD asked you that question, not me. I understand it's difficult understanding the difference between CD and Cognitive Dissonance (hint: Cognitive Dissonance has more letters) but give it a try.

by CD
on Fri, 07/02/2010 - 00:35

Your perseverance, single-minded and dogged pursuit of oil industry (BP) apologia is to be commended for its consistency and constant nature. Well done, old chap.

Please explain to us why a device such as this one that I found using the keyword search - sonar flow measurement - on this mystical, newfangled innovation called (gasp!) Google could/should not have been installed as soon as the well had a pipe sticking out of the seabed:

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 23:56 | 449812 CD
CD's picture

Augustus, I think you are confusing two different ZH members here. I was the one who asked you about the non-intrusive sonar flow measurement options which can separately estimate liquid and gas flows through wellpipes. As you are the one who claims (or at least strongly insinuates) expertise in the field of deepwater mineral exploration, I would defer to and welcome your opinion on this aspect.

BTW, BP themselves showcased this method in their internal newsletter -- in 2008:

As to why such a device was not installed (or rather why the readings on the installed device are not being made public), I have only rather obvious speculative answers -- it is not in the interest of either BP nor the gov't to make said values known.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:35 | 449668 Edmon Plume
Edmon Plume's picture

Why not just nuke it with radioactive material that can be traced back to iran?  Betcha we have some somewhere.  Kill two birds with one stone.  Sure they did us a favor, but it would be an act of war.  We get a sealed well, politicians can't be blamed for the nuclear mermaid problems, and the O can have a pretense to go to war.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:48 | 449414 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Anybody who would junk an objective analysis of motive, and not have the balls to 'fess up to it, is long past chickenshit.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:24 | 449784 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

HFF: High Frequency Flagging
Tyler needs to regulate the HFF douche junking crowd. We know Marla and the SEC are on their backs on this one...(Easy...It's a joke...)

They are just churning junk and skimming junk profit so you can't even get junk discovery any more. What a rigged junk market...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:12 | 449838 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I didn't know Goldman was making a market in ZH junks. Then again, were there's a squid, there's a buck. <joke>

BTW don't you just love the low volume July 4th Friday melt up in the markets. Who would of guessed? Gotta let the investors sleep well over the long holiday weekend.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 20:24 | 450255 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

How else to explain the surge in junking on no volume?

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 12:58 | 450778 Mesquite
Mesquite's picture

Does Goldman pay overtime..?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:19 | 449774 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

"we are at least 3 months from "Plan C"???"

Put Timmay Geithner in Charge
Then there will only be Plan A, no B or C to worry about.

Problem solved.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:12 | 449324 Red Neck Repugnicant
Red Neck Repugnicant's picture


You and I think the same way; great minds think alike! Everyone in this country has morphed into a bunch of drama queens just because the GofM has gotten a little oily.

Like you correctly said in the other thread, if Mt. Pinatubo spews a bunch of ash into the atmosphere, why the hell is everyone concerned about some oil in the Gulf?  This oil problem is just a deliberate attempt by the Democrats to get more control over our lives.

Again, I've got to paraphrase you:  the Earth is amazingly resilient ball of dirt.  Nature will heal itself, and we shouldn't be such drama queens.  Leave Nature to figure it out.  


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:21 | 449348 spekulatn
spekulatn's picture

Watch out for sex crazed poodles.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:04 | 449570 hardmedicine
hardmedicine's picture

i love your avatar ,,,.... spekulatn

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 18:01 | 450084 Strider52
Strider52's picture

Or horny cats. Lately, my cat has been trying to fuck my arm, leg, face, or anything he can get ahold of. This usually happens around 3 AM, of course.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:31 | 449379 thesapein
thesapein's picture

Only a lame land animal would call this planet "Earth" or a "ball of dirt".

But, yeah, let's just pray to Nature and let Nature do what's best. Oh, wait, aren't we a part of nature, or are we supernatural and should just watch like gods?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:12 | 449464 Joe Shmoe
Joe Shmoe's picture


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:32 | 449383 Red Neck Repugnicant
Red Neck Repugnicant's picture

Let Nature figure it out.  The fact that Obama thinks he can fix the leak just proves that Obama thinks he's more powerful than Mother Nature.  

The arrogance of this guy!

Palin/Beck 2012

Rogerwilco for Energy Secretary!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:11 | 449462 Joe Shmoe
Joe Shmoe's picture

Dear Red neck,

You sound like such a red neck.  Let nature figure it out?  Are you kidding?  That would work, of course.  But might take millions of years.  The earth is, in fact, a complex system that is getting way out of whack.  If the fishery that is the Gulf is destroyed, the implications will endure far beyond the Gulf.  Whatever your spoon fed political stripe, starving would suck.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:06 | 449579 hardmedicine
hardmedicine's picture

palin and beck are both bought and paid for white propagandists.  I want my old Zero Hedge back!!!! 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:32 | 449659 Augustus
Augustus's picture

Berry Soretoes is a black slaver attempting to steal all income and redistribute it.  He was created with socialist funding and a few good fake stories.

I want my country back.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:17 | 449610 theopco
theopco's picture


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:19 | 449614 DonnieD
DonnieD's picture

Obama is personally building a "green" nuke that will fix the problem without causing any collateral damage. Or at least that's the lastest rumor making the rounds of the MSM. 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:59 | 449858 knukles
knukles's picture

Jesus/Palin 2012

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:55 | 449720 Marla And Me
Marla And Me's picture

Now again children, please notice the "Do Not Feed the Trolls" sign...

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 20:22 | 450263 maddy10
maddy10's picture

Leave nature to figure it out!

Let me consult the dinosaurs! Ah sorry I figured it out!

More ons, lol

Sun, 07/04/2010 - 11:56 | 451639 TrulyStupid
TrulyStupid's picture

I absolutely agree with you. It's high time we stopped coddling a few hairy treehuggers with B.O.

Let's make the Gulf safe again for corporate profits. Let's face it, we need more toxic waste dumps and the GofM is ideally situated. Long walks on pristine beaches are for sissies anyway. Why aren't these people sitting in front of a PC contributing to America by engaging in for profit cyber-sex. It's unAmerican to actually not pay for human necessities like clean air and water.

California has got it right! close the beaches and open the seas to drilling! We need to learn a lesson from this disaster.. Let's remove all the wildlife from the Artic Wildlife refuge BEFORE they get in the way of corporate profits. Mayber Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney could lead a benefit genocide event against the cariboo with the aid of the American loving NRA membership.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:44 | 449264 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

All the Russian detonations were on land, not 5000 feet below water (emmense pressure). Additionally, the crust strata and composition is substantially different here than in the USSR. Due to the high salt content of the crust in that area and the way the strata arranged, most likely a massive series of fractures will occur and the risk of a total release of the oil deposit at about devastating. Fissures could also be created away from the site but still involving the same deposit. thus a massive leak elsewhere without anyone knowing.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:24 | 449360 DosZap
DosZap's picture


"All the Russian detonations were on land"

What I read, they had a a/some leaks just like this.....

If we do not use nukes, maybe a conventional....

Not according to the Rooskies.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:46 | 449274 msgtb
msgtb's picture

This should have been done on week two of this crisis. 

The governments inaction is killing the Gulf of Mexico. 

How much clearer can it be that BP wants to save the well 

and the oil. The governments lack of interest and inaction

are making this a huge disaster which could have been 

minimized by government action and the sealing the well

without regard to saving the well. The effects of a

nuclear or non-nuclear are far better than continuing to 

do nothing.


It is a shame







Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:51 | 449289 VogonPoet
VogonPoet's picture

Obama is going to shit a telepompter. And so will the liberal base which keeps supporting him even though they've come to disdain him. I can't wait, even though this totally sucks.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:51 | 449291 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Vladimir Chuprov from Greenpeace's Moscow office is even more insistent that BP not heed the advice of the veteran Soviet physicists. Chuprov disputes the veterans' accounts of the peaceful explosions and says several of the gas leaks reappeared later. "What was praised as a success and a breakthrough by the Soviet Union is in essence a lie," he says. "I would recommend that the international community not listen to the Russians. Especially those of them that offer crazy ideas. Russians are keen on offering things, especially insane things."

Insanity when measured is relative to those doing the measuring and those measured. In an insane asylum, where everyone is considered "insane", there are still huge differences between functionally insane and drooling-in-a-cup-while-wearing-Depends-insane.

I have no doubt insanity isn't exclusive to the USA. But if BP doesn't manage to stop the flow with the relief wells by October, just in time for mid term elections, this insane idea will by front page center and seriously considered. Let's hope BP isn't lying about their chances for success with the relief wells like they did about other things.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:53 | 449299 Printfaster
Printfaster's picture

It is now a certainty that a nuclear device will be used to cap the BP well.

Clinton was on CNN Monday saying that the government should consider using a nuclear device to cap the well.  Nothing could make such an action more certain.  Talk about a trial balloon.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:04 | 449321 anynonmous
anynonmous's picture

can you imagine the ratings for an event like that?


separately I posted this video on another thread featuring hunderds of oil covered dolphins far out in the Gulf

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:48 | 449837 knukles
knukles's picture

Or Moral Certantude

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:56 | 449302 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

Nothing like limegreen and hunters orange tarballs with a half life of say the Tertiary Period. WEEEEEEEEEEEE Mommy where is my beach ball and flippers. And we get BPs competent management to start the ignition sequence.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:36 | 449391 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

Great freaking point.  Contaminated oil, sand, sea creatures...all washing up on our shores.  Nice!

We should not make decisions on the use of a Nuke like we do on our government bills...pass it and then we'll see what we get.  Probably need a bit more thought.

On the plus side, due to genetic damage we might someday haul 10 pound shrimp and giant oysters from the Gulf...Yummy!

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 13:08 | 450789 Mesquite
Mesquite's picture

We've already got a giant squid--and look what that's doin to us..!!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:55 | 449305 yabs
yabs's picture

It could either work or make it ten times worse


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 11:58 | 449314 scratch_and_sniff
scratch_and_sniff's picture

Anyone here know of a good  alternative to netdania?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:01 | 449318 LoneStarHog
LoneStarHog's picture

If they are determined to nuke this thing, I suggest that they conduct a nuclear test first.

May I suggest the center of Whore Street on a Triple Witching Friday?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:40 | 449678 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Also, Obamatron has to "volunteer" to go down in the hole to flick the toggle switch trigger!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:05 | 449322 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

That is one big shrimp kabob!

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:07 | 449326 Gubbmint Cheese
Gubbmint Cheese's picture

anyone else come across this story?


BP covering over beaches with new sand -



Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:10 | 449328 mdwagner
mdwagner's picture

Doesn't the nuke option have to assume that the well is not compromised down hole? 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:42 | 449403 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Nope.  The hole is completely closed, and the sand is turned into glass.  If there weren't already huge natural leaks, this solution won't cause any.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:10 | 449329 FTWBTWFY
FTWBTWFY's picture

Bend over, place head between legs, and kiss your (maybe all of our) ass goodbye. 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:14 | 449333 Milestones
Milestones's picture

What happens if instead of sealing off the oil leak we instead literally create a "volcano" of oil comming up at the rate of 100,000 barrels per hour (in a potential pool of 2-4 Billion barrels of oil) and an absolute torrent of Methane coming to the surface, far too much for the ocean to absorb--and hurricane season upon us--of  course with winds of a hundred miles an hour or more.

Is Walt Disney still alive and kicking??  The damage is bad now, what the hell will it be if we are wrong?

I don't know what the answer is, but this option to me is absurd.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:17 | 449339 mdwagner
mdwagner's picture

What if the methane blows up?  There's reportedly a 10-20 mile wide bubble of it down there.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:27 | 449368 CPL
CPL's picture

THey honestly don't know what is down there.  The GIS folks look at the shape of the rock and the cross section of the sample.  The process after that is "guess".  They dug pretty deep and we're closer to the core of the earth than we are at the surface.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:51 | 449422 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"They dug pretty deep and we're closer to the core of the earth than we are at the surface."

I can only think (and pray) you're being sarcastic here. The bottom of the well is no more than 5 miles from the surface of the sea and 4 miles from the sub sea surface. The center of the core of the Earth is 4,000 miles away from the well. Even the bottom of Earth's crust is at least 30-50 miles away from this well.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:43 | 449529 tj3
tj3's picture

so your saying there is a deeper well...where is it?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:54 | 449552 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I'm not saying anything about a deeper well. I was explaining that the BP well was no more than 5 miles deep. CPL was talking about the well being closer to the core of the Earth, which is thousands of miles deep. I think you need to direct your question to CPL. I'm not sure CPL understands much about Earth geology. Or like I said, he/she was being sarcastic.

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 00:22 | 450455 trav7777
trav7777's picture

There are many deeper wells.

The Carioca field in the Santos Basin is but one.

Get educated before speaking.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:08 | 450011 CPL
CPL's picture

I am being an ass as always but to be blunt, they geologists don't know.  plus it's sitting pretty close to a fault line that runs right down Mexico, Central America and keeps the Caribbean shelf together along with the southern US.


Look at where the GOM plate lies, now how the nuke would be deployed is to force the nuke to a depth where the material is non porous, that is if they blasted it, the nuke would melt the material.  But correct me if I'm wrong here, but doesn't sticking a nuke down a hole to the non pourous crust that shelves are sitting on and house around 350 million seem slightly nuts?  Considering the Caribbean islands were created by volcanoes as it's a chain of islands.


If they are going to do it, let them.  I would suggest that anyone living on that shelf move while they are doing it and the property values right now in the area are a little high.  lol


Sat, 07/03/2010 - 00:24 | 450458 trav7777
trav7777's picture

do you think Superman was based in reality?

A nuke would have no effect whatsoever on plate tectonics.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:28 | 449371 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Why not use a vent tube to the surface, and burn it off?.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:46 | 449412 tmosley
tmosley's picture

What happens if we turn gravity off?  It's a ridiculous question.

Not physically possible.  An atomic bomb does not just make a big hole where the ground disappears into aether.  The ground is compressed and heated until it turns into glass.  It will make a very thick sheet of glass where it goes off, sealing up everything.  It will be decades or centuries before anyone can even drill it again, much less for it to come out on its own.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:11 | 449451 butchee
butchee's picture

Are you familiar with the effects of nukes and high heat and pressure on salt strata?  I have been wondering if salt will glass off or is it does something fracturing or....something that I have no knowledge of??

here is some info on the stratigraphy of the formation

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:02 | 449861 knukles
knukles's picture

Makes the glass taste better.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:22 | 449354 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Clinton made $10M giving speeches last year - now that's a truly non-productive leak....

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:29 | 449373 DosZap
DosZap's picture

 now that's a truly non-productive leak....

Plus what ran down his pants...........

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:30 | 450052 CPL
CPL's picture

Love for sale?

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 13:17 | 450797 Mesquite
Mesquite's picture

What recession...Just look at all the employed comedians...

(in appreciation..)

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:25 | 449362 centerline
centerline's picture

Man - what's nuke cost these days? I'd love to see that itemized bill to BP after it is done.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:31 | 449378 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Kim Jong Il sell cheap.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:30 | 449377 Fred123
Fred123's picture

Maybe we should wait for the relief wells and see it they work.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:36 | 449392 taraxias
taraxias's picture

Is the option to nuke Wall Street being considered?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:47 | 449537 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Or stuff the well pipe with congress-critters and their lobbyists?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:41 | 449685 Edmon Plume
Edmon Plume's picture

Now that's a junk shot if I ever heard one.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:42 | 449404 ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

It is the Fourth of July Weekend here in the USA and we do like our fireworks.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:42 | 449405 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Last time I looked, BP didn't own any nukes.  That means Obummer would have to get off his shiny ass and make a decision.  That ain't happenin' folks.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:54 | 449551 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

BP could go hat-in-hand to Iran and ask to borrow one of theirs, seeing as how it is an emergency and all. Maybe swap for some refined oil products or something. All on the qt mind you.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:42 | 449406 John McCloy
John McCloy's picture

   I cannot agree with nuking the well. I believe Russia would love nothing more than for this problem to become even worse. Who knows what placing a nuke beneath the seafloor could do for plate shifts, gas explosion and what if it caused the well reservoir to collapse and a tsunami occurred. Maybe a miniature nuke placed down a drill shaft adjacent to well but I agree it is pretty risky and there are vast difference between a nuke a few hundred feet below ground on land than a well 5,000 feet below which would require a nuke detonated anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 below the ocean surface. 

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:54 | 449428 centerline
centerline's picture

That would suck for sure.  Nuke seals the well, but suddenly Nevada becomes beachfront property.  Would cure the California budget problems though.  Maybe everything has a silver lining somewhere.  Just have to look really hard to find it.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:43 | 449407 Mercury
Mercury's picture

We should make damn sure this kind of thing has a very high probability of doing (and not doing) what's intended because once the Obama administration figures out they have an opportunity to nuke their own country the temptation will be overwhelming.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 16:04 | 449873 knukles
knukles's picture

Weren't Louisiana, Mississippi and them all Red States?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:57 | 449433 kurt_cagle
kurt_cagle's picture

There has been some speculation that the reason that this particular leak has been so productive is that it may in fact be sitting on the New Madrid fault line - the same fault line that runs through parts of Florida, makes it's way up to Memphis, and then splinters into three other faults that run all the way to Hudson Bay. In essence, this is on the southern end of what amounts to a continental rift which, in five to ten million years, will end up tearing the North American continent in two.

While it's unlikely that even a large megaton nuke would precipitate that event early, it is very much in the probability space that a nuclear detonation here could result in earthquakes all up and down the Mississippi valley. As the last major earthquake in the region was a magnitude 8 earthquake in 1812 that ended up creating several new lakes, rerouted the Mississippi river and set churchbells ringing in Massachusetts, we're probably overdue another one. A similar quake today would likely turn both Memphis and St. Louis into kindling.


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:16 | 449475 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Friendly amendment:

Have studied this one for a while.  New Madrid is an unusual deep slip falt, poorly understood, but with three related faults creating a triangle. 

When it goes, you get not one, but three mag 8+ quakes over a period of one to six months, plus an ungodly number of aftershocks.  Sleep well.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:49 | 449542 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Boom boom boom. No badda, no bing.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:20 | 449483 lostinmissouri
lostinmissouri's picture

:A similar quake today would likely turn both Memphis and St. Louis into kindling."

What's the down side to that?


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 17:33 | 450056 CPL
CPL's picture

Horray for insurance!!


Oh wait, the insurance industry is fucked.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 18:57 | 450154 knukles
knukles's picture

What'd they play?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:08 | 449455 Carl Marks
Carl Marks's picture

The real problem with the nuclear option is the very real possibility that it would cause a reversal of the Earth's polarity.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:42 | 449826 kurt_cagle
kurt_cagle's picture

Nah, that's happening all on its lonesome <grin/>.

Seriously, I think that the likelihood of setting off the New Madrid is definitely a black swan, about the same likelihood as drilling deep into the Gulf of Mexico and tapping into a massively high pressure oil field. Just not going to happen, right?

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:14 | 449472 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

  1. They are drilling two relief wells. Who is to say one is not being drilled to specs for a nuke already? In other words, plan C is already in play. 
  2. They could be developing the nuke as we type and read, shelf it if the relief well works. I would.
  3. Who calls this shot? Obama? God we need to be more careful who we elect...


Fri, 07/02/2010 - 13:35 | 449511 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Clinton has chimed in (Lawyer).  I wonder what Carter (Nuclear Engineer) has to say.

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 14:28 | 449648 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Kinda like what would Jesus do:

  • What would Carter do?
  • What would Bush 1 do?
  • What would Busch 2 do?
  • What would Putin do?
  • What would McCain do?
  • Palin?
  • Try this: What would RON PAUL do?

You know how we interview Miss America contestants? We should make the Gulf Oil spill a question for all presidential candidates.

It's a real bitch trying to get lemonade out of these lemons. 

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