The Nuclear Option

Thursday, June 3, AD 2010

It was September of 1966, and gas was gushing uncontrollably from the wells in the Bukhara province of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. But the Reds, at the height of their industrial might, had a novel solution. They drilled nearly four miles into the sand and rock of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, and lowered a 30-kiloton nuclear warhead — more than half-again as large as “Little Boy,” the crude uranium bomb dropped over Hiroshima — to the depths beneath the wellhead. With the pull of a lever, a fistful of plutonium was introduced to itself under enormous pressure, setting off the chain reaction that starts with E = MC2 and ends in Kaboom! The ensuing blast collapsed the drill channel in on itself, sealing off the well.

The Soviets repeated the trick four times between 1966 and 1979, using payloads as large as 60 kilotons to choke hydrocarbon leaks. Now, as the Obama administration stares into the abyss of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and a slicker of sweet, medium crude blankets the Gulf of Mexico, slouching its way toward American beaches and wetlands, Russia’s newspaper of record is calling on the president to consider this literal “nuclear option.”

As well he should. It’s a little less crazy than it sounds. The simple fact is that the leak has confounded all conventional efforts to quell it, forcing British Petroleum and its federal overseers to resort to a series of untested, increasingly unwieldy, and heretofore unsuccessful backup plans as the American people’s impatience and rage grow at geometric rates. In the madness that is Deepwater Horizon, The Bomb may be the sanest choice.

More.

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0 Responses to The Nuclear Option

  • Maybe it would work, but my initial reaction is that I’d rather the oil than a nuclear explosion that close to the city of New Orleans. Maybe it can be done with radiation damage, but count me skeptical.

  • Apparently it worked well enough for the Russians, but it’s never been done underwater. Then again, BP keeps backing up the “when we’ll have it sealed” promise. We may have no choice to prevent an unimaginable catastrophe.

  • A big question is what it will do, not on the nature of radiation, but the potential to actually damage the floor more.

  • I assume that means loss of the well and any chance of recovery of the oil. These other options seem to leave opent the possibility of some recovery (which can then be used to offset the costs of cleanup). After so much invested, I am sure BP wants to try to salvage what it can for as long as it can, before going nuclear.

    As bad as this is, in the grand scheme of things drilling in the Gulf has been pretty successful – its been going on for so many years, thousands of wells, and I have only heard of this and one other incident of these proportions.

  • All we need now is a nice big hurricane to suck up all the oily water and dump it inland.

  • Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

    (1) With a hydraulic force pushing out 5k+ barrels a day, how do you expect to get a bomb down the well bore?
    (2) If you could over come that force, why not just set a bridge plug in it?
    (3) Assuming you do bomb it, how can they provide zonal isolation to ensure it won’t make the problem worse.

    Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  • It’s a little early to resort to the nuclear option. After all, movie producer James Cameron has only been on the case a week or so.

  • Well said, RL. I’m a little reluctant to take advice on capping oil wells from op ed writers.

  • I agree that the use of the nuclear option is way too early, but part of me would love reading the headline:

    OBAMA DROPS THE BIG ONE!

  • They can plug the leak with 300 liberal congresspersons.

    No.

    Obama’s intention is to destroy the evil, racist Gulf Coast. He cannot possibly be this incompetent.

Political Correctness Trumps Expertise in Gulf Oil Spill Response

Tuesday, June 1, AD 2010

During his press statement last week, President Obama said that in dealing with the recent oil spill in the Gulf, he was “examining every recommendation, every idea that’s out there, and making our best judgment as to whether these are the right steps to take, based on the best experts that we know of.”

That, however, is not entirely true:

A St. Louis scientist who was among a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been removed from the group because of writings on his website, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.

Though considered a leading scientist, Katz’s website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings have stirred anger in the past and include postings defending homophobia and questioning the value of racial diversity efforts.

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0 Responses to Political Correctness Trumps Expertise in Gulf Oil Spill Response

  • Pingback: The Patriot's Flag » BP – Update Page
  • In addition to his “expertise”, he did find Jesus burial box: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Tomb_of_Jesus

    And President Obama is supposed to be “smart”.

    I have a bridge to sell you if that’s true.

  • 1/20/2009: Beginning of an Error.

    Hold them regime responsible for the misery.

  • To be fair, I did just learn that James Cameron is also an engineer. Didn’t know that, and it puts his involvement in a different light.

    But to exclude someone because he has differing opinions on unrelated topics? Well, that’s only something conservatives do, right? /sarcasm

  • Engineer is a very broad category (like doctor). You wouldn’t call in a cardiologist to do brain surgery (heck, you wouldn’t even call him in to do heart surgery, since cardiologists are not surgeons).

  • This whole situation will be extremely unforunate for the environmental life and for the economy in a number of clashing ways. This problem could have been baffled however sometimes accidents happen. These companies should be held responsible for this global catastrophe.

  • It is nearly unbelievable that this oil spill is still not taken care of. It’s been what, like 46 days now?? All i see on the tv all day long is washed up fish, and poor pelicans covered in oil.

  • The Gulf is a nightmare and the oil has been seen as far as Alabama and Florida…Obama didn’t do himself any favors by criticizing Bush’s response time to Katrina

  • This whole catastrophe with BP is out of control. The amount of spilling into the Gulf of Mexico sprung up by thousands of barrelfuls Wednesday right after an underwater robot seemingly hit the containment cap that has been getting oil from BP’s Macondo well. I question how much desolation this entire oil spill is going to cost the sea when it’s all over

  • Well finally they have a plan to cap this thing, but given their track-record so far, I’m not holding out a ton of hope for this. I was in Tampa when that tanker caught fire (I was driving over the Skyway right when it happened, saw the smoke) and the beaches are still washing up tar balls. I think it has effectively ruined the economy of southern LA, MI and AL towns. I have a ton of family there and they are really desperate.

Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

Monday, November 16, AD 2009

Tensions are mounting in Central America as Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez masses troops on the border with Columbia and tells his military to “prepare for war”.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Bogota, Gustavo Marquez, said that the seriousness of the situation could not be overstated and that “there is a pre-war situation in the entire region”.

Diplomatic relations between the South American neighbours are frozen and on Saturday President Chavez escalated the war of words with President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia by saying there was no chance of dialogue.

While those who are committed Chavez fans, convinced that he wants only what is best for his people and the region, may accept his claim that this escalation is necessary because Columbia has invited the US to set up military bases in their country, which Chavez sees as presaging a US invasion of Venezuela, most will see this as evidence that Chavez is seeking to establish a national enemy in order to distract his people’s attention from the economic problems the Chavez regime has inflicted on them. His ability to use Venezuelan oil revenues to buy support at home and abroad is suffering because his government-run oil companies have failed to invest in infrastructure and thus have experienced declining output over the last several years.

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30 Responses to Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

  • To be accurate, Venezuela and Colombia are in South America, not Central (actually , Central America does not exist as a separate continent – it is a geopolitical designation like the Middle East).

  • Good point.. Politically, I’d tend to think of Venezuela and Columbia as being part of the Central American sphere, but that may be my own hang-up.

  • Colombia is thrice as populous as Venezuela and has a working military, albeit one occupied in counter-insurgency operations rather than conventional war. Col. Chavez has been (per news reports) been cashiering officers on political criteria. One can easily imagine this will end badly for Venezuela if they come to blows.

  • While I have nothing but contempt for Chavez and his corrupt and near-despotic government, I believe it to be a tragic mistake for Colombia to allow the US to build any military facility in their country. The influence of the US is every bit as malignant as that of Chavez and his ilk.

    I can only hope the people of Colombia will knock some sense into the heads of their leaders and tell them to keep the American rattlesnake at arm’s length.

  • Dan,
    The American rattlesnake’s support for Uribe (and Pastrana before) through Plan Colombia has given the Colombian government the chance to defeat the FARC and ELN sufficiently so that many more people there live in peace than was the case 10 years ago. US extradition is the threat whereby Colombia was able to convince the AUC right wing paramilitary to stand down. It seems the snake has mostly bitten the rabid dogs.

  • It’s not the first time Chávez threatens to do something like this. If my memory serves me well, the last time there were rumours that he wouldn’t be obeyed if he ordered the Armed Forces something crazy.

    The problem with this kind of people is that you get used to see them posing as personae and parroting a ludicrous jargon (all that “Bolivarian” and “21st-century socialism” stuff which, by the way, is pure plagiarism from Peron’s “20-century socialism”, to the extent that it’s fair to say that Chávez is a Peronist) and you start taking them less and less seriously, until one day they mean it.

  • If you are not even aware of the location of Venezuela, I’m not sure we can trust your commentary on it.

  • Michael,

    Glad to see you continue to show up whenever you have something particularly deep to say.

    Given that basically all the commentary here comes from the UK Telegraph, I’m not sure what exactly of mine you think should be discounted. Perhaps my suggestion that we all pray that Chavez not allow his militarism to run away with him and lead his country into an unnecessary and unjust war?

    As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American — it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”. Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”. I’m not going to bother with it — but if you think it’s the most interesting thing about Chavez’s brinksmanship, feel free to enlighten us.

    (I considered correcting the wording in the article as soon as it was mentioned, since I realized I’d simply been sloppy in writing it quickly, but I figured since someone had pointed out the issue via a comment it was more honest to leave it as is.)

  • Politically…part of the Central American sphere

    An argument can be made for that, particularly Venezuela with its Carribean influence.

  • In fact, if you look at it from the point of view whether a Venezuelan-Colombian fracas would be more disruptive to neighbors to the north or those to the south, I would venture to say to the north. The closest southern (really, more southeastern) neighbor would be Brazil, and given the relative size and stability, it would be less impacted than say, Panama, to the north. Perhaps Paraguay, Bolivia or Ecuador would feel it more like Panama, but assuming most of it would occur along the Col-Ven border, they would seem more physically removed.

  • As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American…

    Ah yes, you finally get around to responding to my comment at this point.

    …it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”.

    Yes. Precisely my point.

    Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”.

    No, it’s not. It’s quite obvious what “Central America” refers to, especially to folks who actually care about the region and do not simply make reference to it in order to do some pro-Amerikkka posturing.

  • Michael,

    If you are so incredibly concerned about the region, I’m a bit confused as to whether you’ve posted twice about a mistake I made in terminology, but seem to have no particular concern about Columbia potentially being invaded by Chavez for no very good reason.

    Personally, I have a couple friends who live in Columbia, and I certainly wouldn’t want the delusions of the left’s favorite South American strongman to result in their country being invaded. Is that “pro-Amerikka posturing”?

    Maybe if Chavez had spent some time at the School of the Americas or was considered “right wing” you too could bring yourself to care about Columbia?

  • Yeah. I just don’t care about Colombia. I care enough about it to spell it correctly! (And I know it’s not in Central America.)

  • pro-Amerikkka posturing

    Ah yes – thanks for the few seconds of distraction and enertainment. This typically juvenile behavior is more notable than much of rest, however, given the very significant amount of ideological gymnastics one would need to attempt in an engagement with Darwin (or myself, let’s return to issue of Honduras if you wish) concerning the actions of Chavez – especially if one would wish to deride imperialism, militarism, interfering with the affairs of other nations, ect. ect. ect. Or maybe its in some way ok if the person claims to speak for the “oppressed??” Let us know!

    So how about giving it a shot, then, and leaving these sorts of pleas for attention aside?

  • Touche.

    All right, Michael. We know now that you care about Colombia — though apparently not about other countries you don’t know how to spell. (e.g. “Amerikkka”)

    And we know that I incorrectly imagined one could refer to all the countries with coastline on the Caribean Basin as “Central America”.

    Perish the thought, however that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from these important learnings into not wanting Chavez to start a war or anything. That would be madness.

  • Michael, do you ever even listen to yourself?

  • One would hope not.

  • michael we all know you dont listen to yourself. as for this iccedient venizula should just call it off because if they do anything to the U.S base in columbia the united states will send forces to Venizula and the u.s will win. i also think that the people in venuzlia should stop because they already have there 4 guards back. nobody got hurt and if this happens again. the u.s should just leave the base in columbia for good because next time there will be a war for sure.

  • I just don’t care about Colombia. I care enough about it to spell it correctly!

    You care enough to spell it correctly. That sounds about right.

  • At least the real michael makes sense.

  • “Amerikkka” – the calling card of the Maoist.

  • “folks who actually care about the region…”

    Iafrate can read into men’s souls. What a charism. Must be another example of God choosing an idiot to do his work.

  • Actually the definition of Central America has shifted over time. For example, when Panama was part of Colombia it was not considered part of Central America, although it was always a separate, and rebellious, region of that country. Some definitions of Central America include the southern portions of Mexico. The European Union excludes Belize from its definition of Central America.

  • There’s no evidence that Michael “cares” or does anything whatsoever about the Third World poor other than to mention them occasionally as a prop on behalf of whatever lefty cause he’s supporting as to relatively richer North Americans.

  • He could have also said: United $nakes of Amerikkka as an acceptable alternative.

  • if i didnt care. then why would i put a comment on this article. As you can see you are probably someone who lives in venizula and knows if you guys harm the base in coloumbia we will send more then 15000 men over there and beat you guys like on how we did to any toher country who tried thearting us.

  • Darwin – Are you trying to pretend that you’re against war now?

  • I am and always have been against needless and unjust war — and I see no reason to believe that Chavez invading Colombia would be anything other than needless and unjust.

  • There’s also no evidence that Michael is anti-war. The only wars he ever complains about are those in which America was involved. If it’s one of the thugs that he otherwise admires (Chavez), he doesn’t care.

  • Of course I’d be against a Chavez-started war. That goes without saying. The concerns I have raised are unrelated to that.