Nuke the Gulf of Mexico oil leak? Inadvisable, but it could work

It’s funny sometimes how ideas come flitting across the ether. Yesterday, unprompted by anything, I thought, “They could use an underwater nuclear explosion to close the leaking oil pipe.” Later that day on NPR, I heard some mention of how the Soviets used nukes to stop oil leaks not once, but at least four times. Now an article on the web site True/Slant has a story on it. Linking to the Russian daily newspaper Komsomoloskaya Pravda, True/Slant tells us that almost a half-dozen oil and gas spills have been magically solved through nuking them. Though one attempt apparently didn’t work. (I’d hate to have been the one who had to survey the site to find that out.)

Nuke the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico? Yeah! What could possibly go wrong?

Well, that’s what they said when they set up the Global Explorer without the safety mechanism. Of course, if you listen to this guy, spending half a million dollars on that would have been a waste of money. And really, why invest in the future when you could save money now?

Update 3 June 2010: As you can tell if you read closely, I don’t think this is at all a good idea. In fact, today’s New York Times has an article discussing the popularization of this idea by bloggers such as myself. The Times rightfully refers to us as kibbitzers, that wonderful Yiddish word meaning folks who “look on and offer unwanted, usually meddlesome advice to others.” (Danke,; that’s basically what I inferred it to mean.)


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

5 thoughts on “Nuke the Gulf of Mexico oil leak? Inadvisable, but it could work”

  1. An explossion could very well work, however, NO NUKE is necesary, first because the radiation woul be devastating, second, because all that area is a tectonic plato with major seismic activities and a nuke would desface that side of USA including most of California.

    1. The inevitable fallout could be worse than the oil. No way I’d seriously propose this, but it’s worth considering while brainstorming.

  2. Why not a ring of smaller charges. Of course what about all the gas leaking with the crude? Wouldn’t that create a problem with that idea?

    1. I think it would take an explosion forceful enough to jam the pipe/hole closed, but not ignite the leaking fluids. I make absolutely no claim to be an expert of any sort on that!

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