Nuclear explosions have successfully plugged oil leaks in the past

Experts have called on the US government to use nukes to close the oil well leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an article at The Daily Beast, Christopher Brownfield, a former nuclear submarine officer and a scholar on nuclear policy at Columbia University, said explosive crimping could “destroy the well and put the matter to rest”.

The explosive technique has reportedly been used successfully four times in the past by the Russians to seal oil and gas leaks. It is intended to break the necks of runaway oil wells by sealing the long narrow columns shut with tons of rock.

David Hoffman argued in a Foreign Policy editorial that nukes would make the disaster worse. A Canadian blogger added the one thing that’s worse than an oil spill is a radioactive oil spill. A nuclear explosion could reverberate radioactive materials that would be an environmental disaster for decades to come.

Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, denied the US administration was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf, according to The New York Times. The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table, federal officials said.

The Week provided a nice explanation of the options.

What do you think of the use of nuclear explosives to close the BP oil well?

Watch Soviet footage of how a controlled underground nuclear explosion sealed a gas leak