When all you have is a hammer...

Christopher Brownfield suggests ‘Nuke the Oil Spill’ in today’s Daily Beast.

Christopher Brownfield is a former nuclear submarine officer, an Iraq veteran, and a visiting scholar on nuclear policy at Columbia University.


(I’ve gotta stop reading the Daily Beast. It’s driving me nuts.)

Christopher doesn’t go into a lot of detail. Would he set the nuke beside the BOP stack and blow it off? It’s impossible to go inside the wellbore at this point, so don’t know if that’s what he’s got in mind. Even if you could get inside, you’d be restricted to a diameter of something like 8 inches.

Whatever you do, it’s got to positively seal off something like 10,000 pounds per square inch of pressure over a hole that’s about a foot in diameter.

And you’d have to do it in 5,000 feet of water, by remote control (unless you can get some suicide bombers to volunteer).

Admittedly, I know less about our nuclear capability than Christopher does. But when he starts in with this line of crapola, he gives himself away:

BP’s incentives are obvious. A deep-sea oil well costs hundreds of millions of dollars to drill, so the company prefers to bumble through never-before-tried recovery efforts [the tube] than destroy its investment. Furthermore, BP is probably hedging its bets—if it loses this well, lawmakers will likely ban it from drilling there again. In other words, if BP loses the well, it loses both the enormous sunk costs of drilling it and the expected cash flow from all the remaining oil. Thus, even in the midst of this crisis, BP appears to be just as concerned with protecting its shareholders as with stopping this catastrophe.


Chris, Chris, Chris, that doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.

First of all, BP drilled this well as an expendable hole. That means they had every intention of plugging it, but only decided at the last minute to save it for production.

I would assume that the well is not salvageable for production at this point. Further, no one will be happier than BP management when the final plug is set.

Saving a $100 million plus well is the least of BP’s concerns right now. Every day that goes by, the clock is ticking on their cleanup tab.

Regardless of your flip assertions elsewhere in the article (“The latest nonsense and false hope, a mile-long pipe designed to divert some of the oil flow, is like putting a 4-inch straw into a 22-inch-diameter fire hose.”) the latest non-nuclear attempt is having more success controlling the flow than anything tried to date.


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