A Russian newspaper recently ran a story that proposed a new method of stopping the expanding oil spill currently adorning the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The editors write that the former Soviet Union had good results in such instances when it used targeted, tactical nukes to seal off natural gas or oil leaks. Experts suggest that the same approach could successfully be used in the United States as well, although some concerns remain as to how exactly the technique could be applied, LiveScience reports.
While using nuclear weapons against an oil spill may seem a bit too much at first, the Russians say it's actually not. They argue that their country has used this sort of weapons five times already, in various circumstances, and to great results. But critics to this proposal underline the fact that the Soviet examples do not apply to the current disaster. The oil currently spilling in the waters of the Gulf comes from a source located some 5,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The crude is basically gushing out, not seeping, and there is no telling what effects a nuclear explosion would trigger.
The idea was presented in the daily newspaper Komsomoloskaya Pravda, according to Julia Ioffe of the news website True/Slant, who translated the piece. Normally, no one would even consider it, but the fact of the matter is that current clean-up efforts are ineffective at best, and that the oil slick is continuously expanding, threatening natural reserves and habitats, which are the spawning grounds for numerous species of fish and birds. It is absolutely vital for the oil company BP and federal authorities to seal off the leaks, but thus far only the smallest of three was successfully stopped.
Each day, about 5,000 gallons of crude spill into the water, rise to the surface, and get pushed around by prevailing winds and currents. This has been going on for about three weeks. The Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible drilling rig blew up on April 20, and sunk on April 22, killing 11 workers. The two oil sources that remain keep on gushing crude because the blow-out preventer valve, the main safety mechanism, did not function properly. The Russian newspaper argues that targeting a nuke at these holes could seal them off for good.