Friday, June 11, 2010

Why We Can't Go Nuclear on the Oil Spill

O.K. I've been hearing this for a while, that we can use nuclear bombs to fix the oil spill. Seriously! I thought it was a joke when Stephen Colbert mentioned it with his solutions randomizer because, you know, Colbert is a comedian. But ... seriously! I can't believe using nukes has been suggested as a real solution enough for Discovery News to have video explaining why the nuclear option is not recommended to stop the BP Deep Horizon oil leak. They say nuclear weapons have been used five times, most notably, by the Soviet Union to stop an oil spill.

As reported by the New York Times on June 2:
Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, said that neither Energy Secretary Steven Chu nor anyone else was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf. The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table, federal officials said.

“It’s crazy,” one senior official said.
The Discovery guys, James Williams and Michael Reilly, say we'd end up with hundreds to thousands of holes instead of one or two because the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico is made of mud and rock.

Following Shoq on Twitter, I also learned the Discovery people have published "Four Feasible Oil Spill Ideas from the Public," one of which comes from University of Pittsburgh chemical and petroleum engineering professor Dr. Di Gao. The professor has "developed a filter that not only removes the oil from the water, but also allows the oil to be recovered so it can eventually be refined into gasoline," says Discovery, and then it shares this video showing the process.

On the news here in New Orleans, we've seen a stream of people trying to convince the world their solution will fix the leak, including actor Keven Costner, who is also mentioned in the Discovery solutions article.

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