FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: The Nuclear Option?


CBS NEWS: Russian science editor Vladimir Lagowski has written a column in which he claims that the U.S.S.R. used nuclear devices to plug underground fissures several times with success – most of the time. The author cites one failure, where a 1972 gas blowout was not extinguished by a nuke. But at least it was only 4 kilotons. This peaceful use of nuclear detonations fell under the Soviet Union’s Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program. The Russian Analytical Center for Non-Proliferation lists 67 underground nuclear explosions conducted by the U.S.S.R. in the interests of its national economy between 1965 and 1990.  Lagowski writes that the probability a nuke detonated a mile under the gulf would seal the Deepwater Horizon leak is perhaps 20 percent: “Americans could take a chance.” MORE

THE OIL DRUM: In my estimation, the probability of the U.S. government employing a nuclear explosive device to seal this, or any, well is Zero. The engineering, safety, and security challenges are legion. Even if this idea was selected to pursue, in my estimation we would have five relief wells connected to the bottom of the problem well before the preliminary engineering estimate was accomplished for this nuclear bomb idea. The folks who think we can just pull one of these existing devices off the shelf and lower it down a shaft do not know the first thing about the complexities involved. I laugh even louder when folks blithely write that we can just whip up a custom-made device in some incredibly brief time and employ it. MORE

TECHNOFASCISM: Lately, I’ve heard many talking heads in the news media suggesting that the only way to stop the BP oil leak might be to detonate a nuclear bomb under the leak site. Before they consider that option, they might want to watch this video of Dr. Gregory Ryskin, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University.  In the video, Dr. Ryskin explains how a prehistoric methane gas explosion could explain the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, a mysterious period in Earth history where 95% of all species went extinct. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: It sounds simple enough, in theory;“the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel.” A sign of the times, this technique already has its own Youtube video which has garnered nearly 7,000 hits so far. The footage comes from a Soviet-era propaganda film and shows precisely the steps involved in collapsing a compromised natural-gas mining shaft. MORE

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