Oil Spill

Feds Rule Out Nuking the Well

After yet another setback as BP tries to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a new proposal is gaining traction everywhere except the corridors of power: to send a nuclear device 18,000 feet under water, detonate it, and hope the sudden blast of heat and pure energy is enough to melt the rock around the well and clog it. Many scientists, bloggers, and amateur engineers are already fans. But the White House and the Energy Department certainly aren’t. “It’s crazy,” one senior official said. Behind the proposal are reports that the Soviet Union successfully used the method as far back as the 1960s. But it would also kick up massive problems for a White House pushing for global disarmament, not to mention violate international treaties and create a huge amount of risk. “Technically, it would be exploring new ground in the midst of a disaster,” one Los Alamos scientist said, “and you might make it worse.”