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Should a Tactical Nuke Be Used to Close the Deepwater Horizon well head?

Should a Nuclear Explosive Be Used to End the Agony in the Gulf?


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Scarecrow Akhbar

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I mean, a small nuke, on the order of 10-20 kt, would be sufficient to close the leak, and it would clearly do FAR less ecological damage than the continuing incompetence of Obama and BP.
 

pbrauer

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It sounds like a crazy idea to me, it could make the situation far worse.
 

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No. The leak will eventually be stopped, and the oil will eventually be cleaned up. It's horrible, it's messy, but the effects of a nuclear blast would last a lot longer. If you do that I'm pretty sure you can say goodbye to any type of fishing in the gulf for a long while.
 

mac

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I mean, a small nuke, on the order of 10-20 kt, would be sufficient to close the leak, and it would clearly do FAR less ecological damage than the continuing incompetence of Obama and BP.
It would take a far smaller explosive force than that which could be accomplished with conventional explosives.
 

spud_meister

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just how would an explosion, nuclear or conventional, close the hole?
 

DrunkenAsparagus

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No. The leak will eventually be stopped, and the oil will eventually be cleaned up. It's horrible, it's messy, but the effects of a nuclear blast would last a lot longer. If you do that I'm pretty sure you can say goodbye to any type of fishing in the gulf for a long while.
But... but... it would be soooooo cool!
 

obvious Child

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just how would an explosion, nuclear or conventional, close the hole?
Yeah. I'm scratching my head. Wouldn't it just vaporize more rock and possibly increase the flow by expanding the hole? I could possibly see the shockwave crimpling the pipe, but I think this is a hairbrained idea.
 

digsbe

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I think the nuclear explosion would collapse the hole and plug it with debris. I may be wrong, but hasn't Russia used small nukes to plus oil spills? I am not going to vote yet until I know all the facts. What would the aftermath/radiation from the nuke do to the ecological system/fishing industry?
 

obvious Child

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I think the nuclear explosion would collapse the hole and plug it with debris.
If it was that simple, why don't we just drop boulders and gravel on it? Or simply just use placed charges? I can see where you're going though. A nuke would provide a large enough shockwave to collapse the pipe relatively deep enough and fast enough so that the pressure would not overcome the falling debris. We'd still probably get leakage, but not like we have now.

I may be wrong, but hasn't Russia used small nukes to plus oil spills?
When?

What would the aftermath/radiation from the nuke do to the ecological system/fishing industry?
K-141 Kursk anyone?
 

mac

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If it was that simple, why don't we just drop boulders and gravel on it? Or simply just use placed charges? I can see where you're going though. A nuke would provide a large enough shockwave to collapse the pipe relatively deep enough and fast enough so that the pressure would not overcome the falling debris. We'd still probably get leakage, but not like we have now.



When?



K-141 Kursk anyone?
The explosion would have to be below the ocean floor, quite a ways below I imagine. I'm sure placement would make it difficult to accomplish.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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If it was that simple, why don't we just drop boulders and gravel on it? Or simply just use placed charges? I can see where you're going though. A nuke would provide a large enough shockwave to collapse the pipe relatively deep enough and fast enough so that the pressure would not overcome the falling debris. We'd still probably get leakage, but not like we have now.



When?



K-141 Kursk anyone?
Because...

....hmmm..

I guess you never tried dropping pebbles in Old Faithful from an airplane to stop the geyser, have you?

Okay, look. The oil reservoir is thousands of feet below the lithic surface. The Ivy Mike test, a ten megaton release, only gouged out a 150 foot diameter crater. A small bomb, like in the Hiroshima/Trinity size I specified, would fracture the near surface rocks and not have a chance of penetrating the oil reservoir. But it would turn off the oil.

And which has the worse ecological footprint, a small controlled energy release with a clean modern weapon, or a perpetual oil leak that currently cannot be contained by available technology?

To put it in simpler terms, is it better to kill a thousand miles of coastline after a summer of uncontrolled oil leaking, with the inevitable extermination of coastal ecosytems, or to make a short blast that will kill some wildlife locally but have little long term impact on the Gulf ecosystems?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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The explosion would have to be below the ocean floor, quite a ways below I imagine. I'm sure placement would make it difficult to accomplish.
No, the explosion could be where the bore exits the solid rock. 5000 feet of water would serve as an excellent tamper to contrain the blast effect downard into the rock.

If they can put a robot on the gushing well head, they can place a nuclear explosive exactly where it needs to go.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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just how would an explosion, nuclear or conventional, close the hole?
It would fracture the rock to a depth that can be calculated if you have the knowledge and resources of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories at your disposal, and that fracturing would plug the hole like a granite tampon.

Chemical energies would not be sufficient to ensure closure.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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What would the aftermath/radiation from the nuke do to the ecological system/fishing industry?
Not much. Most fission products are short-lived, and modern weapons are engineered to minimize unwanted radiological messes. (We want to be able to march our troops into the blast zone as soon as possible, in the normal use of those things, not to mention that we might have friendlies down wind.)

What will killing all the fish in the Gulf and all the sea floor marine life with an unlimited oil spill do for the Gulf fishing industries?

There's enough oil leaking that there's a reasonable chance that the Gulf Stream might deliver some of BP's oil to the British shores without the hassle of using a tanker.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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It would take a far smaller explosive force than that which could be accomplished with conventional explosives.
Well, I'm going to put this aside.

It might even be true. The effects of explosives unter 2200 psi of hydrostatic pressure isn't widely published, and maybe it would work.

For the purposes of this discussion it is assumed that chemical explosives are insufficient to the task.

The real issue is whether people are so afraid of the nuclear boogeyman that they're willing to sacrifice thousands of miles of pristine coastal ecosystems and the national economy to avoid doing something simple that would cost less, far less, in real terms by any measure.

So far it looks like the mental conditioning against the nuclear boogeyman is stronger than a desire to preserve and protect a thousand miles of wildlife preserves.
 

BCR

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I'm not equipped with the knowledge to answer the question. I do know the Russians were successful several times but they never did it this far underwater under these conditions so probably no.
 

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It seems like this question should be answered by someone with expert knowledge in this field, instead of anyone of us, or a politician.
 

Goobieman

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No. The leak will eventually be stopped, and the oil will eventually be cleaned up. It's horrible, it's messy, but the effects of a nuclear blast would last a lot longer. If you do that I'm pretty sure you can say goodbye to any type of fishing in the gulf for a long while.
The radiological effects of a small device going off under the mile-deep sea bed will be minimal, if any. The entire explosion would be contained by the rock, and any radioactive material that did leak out would diffuse so greatly that it would be indistinguishable from background radiation.
 

The Mark

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I don't know.

If the resulting side-effects will be less than the side-effects projected for using other means (and potentially an extended period of oil exiting the hole), then yes.

But I would want to know that it would be at least 80-90% sure to close the hole.
 

molten_dragon

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I don't have enough information on this to make an informed answer. Would a nuke have a serious chance of actually working? If it failed to close the wellhead, would it then be leaking oil contaminated with nuclear fallout? What would be the long-term effects of setting off a nuke at those depths?
 

roughdraft274

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I mean, a small nuke, on the order of 10-20 kt, would be sufficient to close the leak, and it would clearly do FAR less ecological damage than the continuing incompetence of Obama and BP.
Only if the nuke has ACME written on the side of it and we get wile e coyote to bring it down there to detonate it.
 
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jujuman13

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You are assuming that it would not cause the leak point to become enlarged.
Too many assumptions.
Perhaps it might be better to ask the Russians who are reported to have dealt with similar problems in a similar manner.
 
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