Press**Watch: bomb the gusher?


Last week I mentioned using Navy depth charges to seal the BP well.  It is worth noting that the US armed forces have giant non-nuclear devices like the MOAB which run to thousands of pounds and approach the force of a nuclear device.  I do NOT recommend the use of a nuke to seal the Gulf gusher, but apparently nukes have been used in the past by the Russians--and this would appear to be the source of the comment that I first heard on Thom Hartman's show (AM 620 Portland):

This much we do know: In four separate instances dating back to 1966, the Soviet Union successfully used nuclear explosives to shut off runaway onshore gas wells. According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000, "The Soviet Program for Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Explosions," the first successful application of the nuclear option took place in the Urtabulak gas field in Southern Uzbekistan. The Urtabulak well had been gushing more than 12 million cubic meters of gas per day for almost three years and had defied numerous techno-fixes.


Finally, in the fall of 1966, a decision was made to attempt closing the well with the use of a nuclear explosive... Two 44.5-cm (13.5-in) diameter slant wells, Holes No. 1c and 2c, were drilled simultaneously. They were aimed to come as close as possible to Hole No. 11 at a depth of about 1500 m in the middle of a 200-m-thick clay zone.... The location for the explosive in Hole 1c was cooled to bring it down to a temperature the explosive could withstand. A special 3O-kt nuclear explosive developed by the Arzamas nuclear weapons laboratory for this event was emplaced in Hole 1c and stemmed. It was detonated on September 30, 1966. Twenty-three seconds later the flame went out, and the well was sealed.




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