You know, when your life starts to resemble those commercials for Windows 7 -- I thought of this crap, it's my idea -- you can be forgiven for contemplating suicide. Anyway, one of the things that Crusader AXE actually has a pretty good idea about is...nuclear weapons. I spent 23 years in the Army, with Nukes as a significant part of my raison d'etre, as they say in Lubbock. (Channeling the late Molly Ivins, whom we really need right now!) Given that my sense of humor has been not black so much as obsidian probably since I was about six, I dealt with the subject ironically. Even when I was teaching it at the Army's Intelligence Center and School; even when I was teaching things like how to target for use. When just BSing with my students, I said I preferred Nukes to Chemical Weapons because I thought they were cleaner, if employed as an air burst.
Now, I was born 59 years ago; atmospheric nuclear testing was pretty common in a lot of places. It was also pretty common in the Ocean...Bikini Atoll comes to mind, but there was a lot of it going on. Hell, Las Vegas used the Atmospheric Testing at the Nevada Test Site as a way of attracting tourists. The cast and crew of The Conquerer, a John Wayne-Rita Hayworth extravaganza about Genghis Khan dreamed up by Howard Hughes on opium were in Utah when one messy surface shot tossed tons of debris into the sky --debris that came down, downwind, in the form of fallout. Cancer and mysterious death followed over the decades.
Anyway, we haven't done that lately. Still, as I contemplated the on-going Gulf of Mexico disaster, I wondered if anyone was talking about using Nukes to stop the BP leak. At a mile deep, a small Nuke in the 2-10 kiloton range would not break the surface and could seal the leak by turning the seabed into seared, greenish rock. Now, there would be a deep burst of underwater radiation, which in itself would be a somewhat lesser problem than we might think. After all, water is a pretty good shielding material -- a mile worth of it would reduce the amount of any atmospheric radiation from a small Nuke to the negligible range. There would be a problem with radioactive water -- the ionizing radiation would definitely produce water with radioactive charges, and there would be a lot of alpha radiation emitting water as well as beta and gamma emitters.
Well, it's a helluva great idea, isn't it? Seal off our environmental mega-disaster with a mere environmental conundrum -- we're not sure what the long term effects might be, although we have a lot of scientific research available on it. What the hell, ehh? What could possibly go wrong? How hard could it be? Well, being a huge fan of the law of unintended consequences, I decided that this was a really bad idea and that nobody in a position of power would do such a thing. I pushed it aside...unlike the folks in the Microsoft Commercials, I'd didn't "tell Microsoft!" Nobody is that goddamn dumb, I thought...
Well, unfortunately this scenario has been embraced -- by the Soviet Union. And now, by the guys bankrolling the energy business. According to Bloomberg, as quoted on The Raw Story,
I hadn't heard speculation about the various superplumes of oil being caused by other leaks before, but let's just skip that until we can stop existentially screaming about this one. The article goes on cite an editorial in Komsomoloskaya Pravda that said the Soviets had done it for oil and gas wells starting in the 60s. Well, mainly gas wells. And, they didn't do it a lot. And it didn't always work -- only worked about 80% of the time. To put out gas fires...no mile deep underwater blows. So, it was exactly the same, ONLY IT WASN"T! So, given the whole, what the hell, double down on bad ideas approach to energy that we've been sucked into the last ten years, why not?
Now, we have the Soviets, the Russians, and an environmental disaster. The entire Soviet Union was a monstrous environmental disaster, and remains one today.
That said, the clown running the bank seems to imply that BP is in charge -- which has been the implication for a while in the press -- and therefore not thinking about this because they don't want to use NUKES. The bastards! Actually, why couldn't they use photon beams? Oh, they don't have any photon beams...lasers, phasers and photon beams! Why not? So, the US government should do this, and one thing we have is nuclear weapons.
Well, he is right on that. British Petroleum probably doesn't have any NUKES sitting around it's warehouses. But, the Navy does...what could possibly go wrong? Well, that's one helluva question. I have difficulty picturing a Democratic President short of Andrew Jackson, who's not available, agreeing to blow a weapon in the Gulf, although this one has enough intellectual honesty to probably at least think about it. I'd probably trust the Navy, EPA and DOE on the feasibility of this more than the Soviets 45 years ago although I'm not sure how the people of the Gulf, Mexico, and everyone affected by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico would feel about trusting an American president who blew a nuke on the seabed. The giant mutant shrimp might be interesting; maybe the next disaster to overtake New Orleans would be in the form of a huge radioactive dinosaur...
Let me just suggest if we are going to depend on nuclear weapons as the preferred choice to stop ruptured oil wells at this depth, we probably need a better plan than one I came up with while reading Aristotle and musing about bad ideas that was then validated by the Soviet Union.