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Obama Sends Nuclear Experts To Tackle BP Oil Spill

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the step-aside dept.

Earth 389

An anonymous reader writes "The US has sent a team of nuclear physicists to help BP plug the 'catastrophic' flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking Deepwater Horizon well, as the Obama administration becomes frustrated with the oil giant's inability to control the situation. The five-man team — which includes a man who helped develop the first hydrogen bomb in the 1950s — is the brainchild of Steven Chu, President Obama's Energy Secretary." Let's hope this doesn't mean they actually try the nuclear option. In other offshore drilling news, reader mygoditsfullofdoom informs us that a Venezuelan gas rig has sunk in the Caribbean (with no loss of life). This one is being laid at the feet of Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, which hasn't exactly been regarded as uber-competent "after President Hugo Chavez fired half the company's managers and senior engineers following a 2002 strike."

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BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist!! (1, Flamebait)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222258)

Could kdawson's opinion be any more obvious?

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222292)

Instead of refuting the Reuters article, or refuting it's relevance to the BP story, you've chosen to attack kdawson. I wonder why...

It makes you uncomfortable that he seems to have a point, doesn't it?

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (-1, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222356)

I wonder why...

Because he's an awful editor.

It makes you uncomfortable that he seems to have a point, doesn't it?

His point being what?

It's different when it's someone else! (5, Insightful)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222352)

When Reagan broke the ATC union, he was standing up to the Big Bad Union. When Chavez did it, he was being an autocratic commie.

Re:It's different when it's someone else! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222614)

When Reagan broke the ATC union, he was standing up to the Big Bad Union. When Chavez did it, he was being an autocratic commie.

Probably because Chavez IS an autocratic commie.

One who is driving Venezuela into the ground, by the way.

Venezuela electricity shortage [google.com]

Venezueala oil production decline [google.com]

Venezuelan inflation [google.com]

Re:It's different when it's someone else! (0, Offtopic)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222680)

Oh like "W" made us a better place to live. Yeah right.

Re:It's different when it's someone else! (5, Insightful)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222636)

When Reagan broke the ATC union, he was standing up to the Big Bad Union. When Chavez did it, he was being an autocratic commie.

Kind of like when the US bombs someone, they're being heroes, but if anyone tries to bomb the US, they're being terrorists.

Re:It's different when it's someone else! (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222666)

When Reagan broke the ATC union, he was standing up to the Big Bad Union. When Chavez did it, he was being an autocratic commie.

When Reagan broke PATCO, A) he had overwhelming support from the public, which was tired of constant strikes and exhorbitant demands, and B) Reagan made sure experienced AC's were in place so safety was maintained.

Chavez did it because they dared oppose him, and like a Stalinist goon, he chased off all the smart and talented people without replacing them with other smart and talented people. Comparing the two situations is either blind union fanboyism, or silly cheerleading for Chavez.

yes, yes he could (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222366)

Lets face it, this is the US way. I remember countless jokes about the Mir space station that after years of faithful service was retired while the space shuttle was blowing up all over the place. When you can't be proud of your own stuff, ridicule what others do. It works.

The Venezuela incident seems without side effect so far, and the firing of all the engineers and directors? Well, BP didn't and that one blew up... so what is the relation? But no worry, logic has nothing to do with propaganda.

What do you expect from a country where fox-news is not a contradiction in terms?

Re:yes, yes he could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222410)

Space shuttles were blowing up all over the place? Only one blew up before Mir was retired... you might want to rethink your bullshit.

Re:yes, yes he could (3, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222584)

Jokes would happen during and after recent retirement, being 2001 (remembering that we're talking space science timescales, not Internet meme timescales). By the third week of 2003, 40% of US space shuttles had been destroyed, even while old timers were still tediously proclaiming US victory over the evil Reds.

SFC would have had a stronger argument if he'd mentioned technical and bureaucratic US space programme fuck-ups in general, rather than just the shuttle... no-one said it was easy, but you don't deserve any slack when you start claiming that you're better than everyone else.

Re:yes, yes he could (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222456)

Only 1 shuttle exploded before Mir was deorbited, and that happened before space-side construction of Mir had even begun.

Also, calling a hyphenated word a contradiction in terms is pretty bad style.

Re:yes, yes he could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222594)

I don't usually think of trolls as Small Furry Creatures, but you're quite consistent in your mindless knee-jerk anti-US rants.

People, people, please - don't feed the trolls!

Re:yes, yes he could (3, Insightful)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222662)

I don't even think there's a need for hyperbole on this (my, uh, previous post aside). Shuttle and Mir both worked, both developed problems and dangerous conditions developed over time. The only difference is which side of which border they were developed on, and national origin is a piss-poor standard upon which to judge the overall success of a project or decision, or even the ethics underlying such.

Canning the upper echelon of staff for political reasons rarely, if ever, has good results (I suspect PDVSA had some difficulty replacing that many people with that much experience). Neither does going cheap on the failsafe gear and deciding regulations don't really need to be followed that closely when dealing with complicated, ecologically-significant projects.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0, Troll)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222452)

Hugo Chávez gets all his communism second hand through people like Castro, Che and Marigella (sp) but he is equally dangerous as he is slowly establishing a totalitarian regime. What is frightening is not the political aspects to his debasing of human, civil and corporate rights but the sheer incompetence in his doing so.

If we allow Venezuela to establish itself in the orbit of the last of the last totalitarian Marxist-Lenist states like Cuba it is going to spread not communism but totalitarianism. What we might eventually have is something like Hoxha [youtube.com] again, who went batshit insane after WWII and kept Albania shut almost completely out of the world for 60 years.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (1, Flamebait)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222484)

If we allow Venezuela

Fuck off

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222526)

That is what everybody did when Germany started picking on Poland.

Worked nicely, didn't it?

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222542)

Pop quiz:

Britain declared war on Germany ___ days after the German invasion of Poland.

Venezuela has invaded ___ allies of the US.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222600)

If you don't like the WWII example, then feel free to use one of the thousands of others. Darfur for instance.

There is no shortage of examples of times when outside intervention is not only warranted, but should actually be mandatory.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (1, Funny)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222606)

What are you doing on Slashdot when you should be in Venezuela mandatorily fighting Chavez?

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (2, Insightful)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222846)

There is no shortage of examples of times when outside intervention is not only warranted, but should actually be mandatory.

Yes, that's why I told you to fuck off. The Iraq civil war [foreignaffairs.com] might have been prevented if bullies like you were convinced to fuck off instead of invading it for Windmills of Mass Destruction.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (5, Insightful)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222720)

If we allow Venezuela

Fuck off

I'd like to apologize on behalf of the people in my country, the United States. We're extremely paranoid, uneducated, and religious, and our entire every day consists of being endlessly pummeled by sophisticated government and corporate public relations/propaganda, making us impressively easy to manipulate. We do indeed have the mindset that we (as a country) have an inherent, God-given right to allow or disallow Venezuela (or anyone else in the world, for that matter) to do anything, and there's no real sign that we'll cease acting on that mindset anytime soon.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222814)

Not sure whether insightful or funny was the warranted mod. There really should be a combined mod... "+1 Funnily Insightful" or something

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222536)

Are you going to "not allow" Greece to go commie as well? While you're at it, tell me about your creditors - y'know, that government you owe *trillions* of dollars to? I kinda think they will be OK with Venezuela doing the communist polka. I suggest you worry about the controls being leveraged into your own country, for now. The rest of the world isn't seein' a whole lotta open-market democracy happening, any more.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222682)

Greece can go commie if they want too. As a general rule, Europe is populated by sensible people capable of making informed and responsible decisions.

Contrast this with South America, which is populated by 3 types of people: un-educated peasants, druglords, and warlords.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (3, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222706)

Contrast this with South America, which is populated by 3 types of people: un-educated peasants, druglords, and warlords.

Oh, at least 4! You're forgetting the resident agents of the appropriate US government department who've spent the past 50+ years trying to keep them that way.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222842)

Contrast this with South America, which is populated by 3 types of people: un-educated peasants, druglords, and warlords.

Oh, at least 4! You're forgetting the resident agents of the appropriate US government department who've spent the past 50+ years trying to keep them that way.

The warlords would include that set.

Re:BP's fucked.. but look, over there, a communist (1, Insightful)

Incubusxp (1107147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222616)

Fuck You!! What do you know of whats happening in my country? Venezuela is becoming FREE. Let us be. We dont want War, we just want to develop our country and be happy. With Chavez we will have that.

Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222260)

Physicists... lol...

Re:Ok... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222596)

There is nothing wrong with using physicists. They will work hard to stop the oil leak. After all, it lets them show the world that physics can trump chemistry (which is the dream of every physicist)!

Can you say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222262)

Katrina???

The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (3, Funny)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222278)

They are planning to use the LHC to create a small black hole and drop it into the gusher to suck up all the oil.

I think that would silence the critics of both the LHC, the oil drilling industry, and Apple's restrictive rules about apps!

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (0, Offtopic)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222320)

The LHC isn't American.

Sorry to burst your nertasy.

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222412)

BP isn't American either. Sorry to burst your pendantasy?

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222430)

It is if we decide to take it.

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222340)

LHC? Leaking Hydrocarbon Caulker?

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (1)

Klinky (636952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222534)

Create a blackhole AND use it to stop an oil leak? That would require multitasking!

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (4, Funny)

spongman (182339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222568)

Hmmm... A vertical shaft containing oil. Isn't that already a blackhole?

Re:The Nuclear Experts will use the LHC... (3, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222670)

create a small black hole and drop it into the gusher to suck up all the oil.

First contact with aliens: "Hey idiots, here's your oil back!!"

Obama is a genius!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222280)

Let's nuke it!

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222362)

The Russians claim that it works...

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (2, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222442)

The Russians also thought that this [wikipedia.org] would work.

They don't exactly have a flawless track-record when it comes to this sort of thing.

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (2, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222472)

It stopped the methane from leaking into our atmosphere, so it did work.

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (3, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222762)

You have also a burning coal mine in the US that has forced at least one town, Centralia, PA [roadsideamerica.com] to be more or less abandoned.

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222738)

It may have a chance to work on land based situations, but it can also cause a major disaster.

In the mexican gulf there is a lot of hydrocarbons dissolved into the water, and there is a risk that you can get this "mint in a soda" effect if you are unlucky. And on a gigantic scale. In worst case it can be a termination event. It may not be that, but there is still a risk of a tsunami and other nasty things to happen if things goes wrong. Imagine New Orleans and a large area along the south coast of the US drowned again...

The fishing industry may be in deep trouble for decades due to this accident regardless.

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222378)

From space...

Re:Obama is a genius!!! (5, Funny)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222848)

Well, if we use oil drillers to use nukes to stop an asteroid catastrophe, it only makes sense to bring in the nuclear scientists to deal with an out of control oil well.

not the first time.... (1)

QAChaos (793637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222290)

the last time had some pretty good results http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater [wikipedia.org]

Re:not the first time.... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222554)

Um, it's common knowledge that if you need somebody smart to figure something out, you need a "Rocket Scientist(TM)".

Re:not the first time.... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222618)

Sure, the dino's all died, but at least they stopped that pesky leak.

Nuclear physicists? (1, Interesting)

Flavio (12072) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222314)

Has the oil industry become so corrupted that the only way to get a useful opinion is to recruit a team from a completely different field?

Re:Nuclear physicists? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222380)

The people in charge were obviously told that in order to fix a problem of such scale, experts with new clear perspective were needed.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222488)

The people in charge were obviously told that in order to fix a problem of such scale, experts with new clear perspective were needed.

I love how people make a conjecture and say it's obvious (implying that someone who disagrees must not be smart enough to see the why it's true). It's not obvious at all, unless you have another source.

If you want to get a fresh perspective, then assemble a team of experts in different fields.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222558)

Whoosh, pun fail.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222464)

It probably has more to do with the fact that people think physicists can solve anything. I don't know where this comes from.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222470)

No.

There are dozens or hundreds of industry people working to solve/address the problem (at a minimum, they are working on the relief well, which has a very high probability of success, it will just take 2 months to complete).

These 5 people had a meeting where they were briefed in on the specifics of the problem.

Corruption and lack of imagination are not the problem, the sheer difficulty of the situation they have put themselves into is the problem.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (2, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222702)

There's at least three "The Problem"s here.

1. Stopping the existing leak.
2. Cleanup and damage mitigation.
3. Figuring out what is and isn't reasonable to attempt for oil drilling in the future.

Maybe there's a meta-problem, which is that people will eventually do one, but then act like two is solved as well, and not even bother to address three.

Re:Nuclear physicists? (2, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222632)

Recruiting a team from an unrelated field is quite different from them doing anything bloody useful.

How is it that you translate the fact that no one has every tried to plug a leak like this in these depths to mean the oil industry is corrupted?

Or do you think BP's shareholders would be contempt with standing around and doing nothing while millions are wiped off the company's value?

Re:Nuclear physicists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222734)

If you look into big oil companies, you will find plenty of physicists (mostly coming from the nuclear/theoretical field) developing new technologies for oil search. I know many of them and, trust to me, they do a damn good job!

"Let's hope" (1, Interesting)

shogun (657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222316)

I'm curious at the usage of the phrase "let's hope". A correctly placed nuclear device in the that seals off the oil as well as causing a collapsing void that traps any fission products generated sounds a lot better than pouring yet more megagallons of oil into the ocean.

(your milage may vary in practice a fair bit from theory of course)

Re:"Let's hope" (3, Insightful)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222364)

I've always liked the phrase "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is". I think it's rather pertinent here!

Don't you read slashdot? (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222386)

Just a while ago we were warned by a computer scientist (whatever that is) that this huge oil reservoir is under so much pressure that if 3 miles or rock spits, it could blow up the planet and end life as we know it...

Presumably kdawson read this slashdot story... oh wait... editor reading story... I see where I went wrong there.

Re:"Let's hope" (2, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222660)

+whatcouldpossiblygowrong

Using nukes will make it a small problem for a long term rather than a big problem for a small time.

Sounds like something are shortsighted business and political leaders would be interested in.

Oh yea, and +whatcouldpossiblygowrong

Why the bias? (2, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222338)

Let's hope this doesn't mean they actually try the nuclear option.

Thanks for the environmental message. A little late for that, don't you think?

At this point, a small controlled nuclear explosion to simply fuse the entire mass together into a big piece of molten glass and metal might be what's needed.

Re:Why the bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222440)

I think the worry is the alternative - this doesn't work as planned and starts leaking, say, 10 times that amount of oil.

They could just make it much, much worse.

There isn't much prior art here.

Why would the nuclear option be bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222358)

Why would the nuclear option be bad? If they're unable to get it stopped up in a few months using conventional methods then some other methods will have to be tried. Unless it would be an acceptable option for BP to just throw up their hands and declare "We can't stop the leak. There's nothing we can do. Maybe it will just stop by itself. Sorry about your Gulf."

What harm would there be in using a low yield nuclear device to attempt to stop the leak? The well is fairly deep so it isn't as if the cratering from a tiny nuke would be punching through a thin crust and releasing the entire reservoir of oil. Compared to the environmental harm due to the volume of oil being released I'd expect the radioactivity produced from a low yield undersea nuclear detonation would be fairly small potatoes.

Re:Why would the nuclear option be bad? (5, Funny)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222476)

I think we should do it just so that some accountant at BP has to enter "Cost of nuclear warhead" into their excel spreadsheet. At least that way we can get a laugh out of this.

Re:Why would the nuclear option be bad? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222650)

hmm lets see about this

Small Yield Nuclear warhead = 200,000 pounds
Transportation of warhead = 10,000 pounds
13 Scary Fat Blokes to secure and deploy warhead= 25,000 pounds (each)

Not having to do this again EVER = Priceless

the is a measure thrice cut once thing (1, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222620)

the problem is if they make a mistake in the maths then things could go very bad very quickly (like chunks of tar washing up in Australia kind of bad).
so i would think that they would need a couple guys that didn't get a c minus in astro^Hnuclear physics to make sure of things.

Blowing shit up (4, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222392)

Blowing something up is always the best option. Detonating a large fuel reserve to stop it from leaking makes perfect sense to me. Absolutely nothing to worry about.

Re:Blowing shit up (1)

zardozap (1812430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222416)

Seriously. Take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Blowing shit up (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222462)

So how long do we wait for a better option? If you've got one I'd certainly like to hear it, because we've already passed the point where people's livelihoods are being ruined. This isn't exactly a problem where we can afford to spend several years debating the optimal solution. If no one else has a solution, then yes, "blowing something up" is certainly the best option.

Re:Blowing shit up (1, Informative)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222770)

Blowing something up is always the best option. Detonating a large fuel reserve to stop it from leaking makes perfect sense to me. Absolutely nothing to worry about.

Here, here...and when it doesn't work, we can escalate..er.. I mean surge the situation and then get Haliburton to take matters in hand.
That shouldn't cost too much, should it?
I mean they're doing such a fine job in Iraq and Afghanistan that it wouldn't be more that a few trillion, a price any American would gladly pay on top of everything else. (endorsement approved by Halliburton stockholders)

Hay for Cleanup? (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222422)

Someone showed me this [youtube.com] demonstration today and I don't see any reasons it could not work. It's using hay to soak up the oil. What do you think?

Re:Hay for Cleanup? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222480)

We're talking about an absolutely ludicrous amount of crude oil here. I'm not convinced at all that enough hay could be procured in the time-frame needed to effectively act.

why not nuclear? (3, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222428)

I'm sorry, but I don't see a big problem with the "nuclear option". Underground nuclear explosions have been used quite a bit and they are not a significant radiation hazard. The geology of the area is presumably also fairly well understood. I wonder, though, if they even need a nuclear bomb. The drill hole is tiny compared to the 3 miles of rock it goes through. I would think even a conventional explosive placed some distance to the drill hole about a mile or so down into the rock might be enough to shift the rock and seal it off with little risk of making things worse. In any case, it's good to see people besides BP employees are on the case.

Re:why not nuclear? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222718)

I'd prefer to try MOAB before nukes. The hole is pretty small, do we *need* that much power that a nuke is necessary*?

*if the math says nuke to collapse the tube, then so be it, I'm just wondering if it really requires that much.

Re:why not nuclear? (0, Troll)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222728)

In any case, it's good to see people besides BP employees are on the case.

This is most accurrate. At least we're drawing the big boys/girls out when the big boys/girls are required for a national emergency like this (and I like having people like Stephen Chu on our side).

Any doubters, just consider how McCain/Palin would have reacted in this position because it was inevitable. "Drill, baby, drill," can only get you so far in a catastrophe like this (i.e., the beginning...).

Re:why not nuclear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222840)

causing earthquakes to stop oil spills sounds like a super bad idea.

that's like collapsing a house to stop a water leak. It won't work, and now you have many leaks instead of one.

Wrong team! (1, Funny)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222510)

Where is Bruce Willis and his team? I am sure they'd do it at the last second!

Re:Wrong team! (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222788)

I'd rather have Steve Buscemi in charge.

Reverse Psychology (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222530)

Don't you see? The bias in the article is a prime example of reverse psychology. Notice how many people are already acepting the idea of nuking it.

Re:Reverse Psychology (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222798)

And right after that, the revolution begins.

Gas + nuclear explosion (1)

mrv00t (858087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222548)

Let's hope they will not accidentally nuke the Venezuelan gas rig :)

Crack in the World . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222560)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_in_the_World

Worked fine, the last time it was tried on the silver screens in the 60's . . .

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (0, Offtopic)

esten (1024885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222590)

In mother Russia bomb beats oil.

Bad reporting (4, Interesting)

Clsid (564627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222608)

I am in Venezuela and can tell you that the rig incident in Venezuela was handled much more gracefully than what they show in that link. They managed to break the main pipe and close it before the platform leaned over. The captain of the platform, who is American by the way, was congratulated by Chavez in public TV since he stayed until the very last moment on the platform, only jumping into the water after the platform was over a 45 degree inclination angle. The Venezuelan navy also did a pretty good by-the-book rescue operation, so I don't know why is there so much negativity in the reports I see in the links posted. As far as the problem in the US, I kind of disagree bringing a nuclear physicist to do what can probably be solved by an emergency contract with the Norwegians, by far the best of the world in that field. But I guess when there are no tried solutions, a good idea counts no matter where it comes from.

They don't really want to stop the flow (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222646)

The problem until now was that they didn't really want to stop the flow. They wanted to continue production. The government is now forcing them to stop the flow and abandon production.

Re:They don't really want to stop the flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222792)

This nonsense again [slashdot.org] ? The idea that letting the well run wild is somehow a good thing for BP financially is nuts for all sorts of reasons even if you exclude the cleanup issue. I'm not wasting my time repeating myself [slashdot.org] . They're also working on a new option -- putting a collection pipe directly on there, but that's going to be trickier than the cofferdam approach they tried. Clogging with hydrates might still be an issue further up the pipe as the oil and gas cool down to ambient temperatures on their way to the surface too.

Re:They don't really want to stop the flow (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222836)

The problem until now was that they didn't really want to stop the flow. They wanted to continue production. The government is now forcing them to stop the flow and abandon production.

Yeah like that'll happen in America. The politicians can use that for their re-election campaign funded by the oil lobbyists, paid for by public taxes.

risk and reward (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222674)

My main problem with this is that BP and Transocean seem to be more conerned about limiting liability than solving the problem. BP doesn't seem to be interested in releasing video so the experts don't know if they are dealing with a situation that is 5 or 5 million barrels a day. For planning such a number is important. Transocean is in court trying to claim it is a cruise line so that it can cap liability to a few tens of million. Of course most of BP actions are intended to limit charges of negligence so they can limit liability to $75 million. Total exposure for both companies if all the effort succeed is $100 million.

So the oil still flows, and the government has to step in for what should be a problem solved by the private sector that has claimed they are more than capable of regulating themselves. The private businesses that are destroyed from Louisiana to Florida due to BP negligence will be limited to fighting over the $75 million dollars, hardly enough when all your memorial weekeend guests have cancelled.

Here is the thing. I am one of the few people not in the oil industry that will actively defend the high price of gasoline, and even say it go higher. Oil production is risky, and the rewards should be commiserate. What I find maddening is that when the risk does manifest, the executives claim they have no money to pay for liabiliy. BP has made a profit of 5.5 billion this quarter. It is only natural that all that is forfiet to pay for the accident. That is how the free market works. As long as one is efficient and keeps one nose clean, one can make a huge profit. On big mistake an put one out of business. We should not be making laws to protect incompetent firms, any more than we should have laws to protect incompetent employees.

And for those who think there is a greater competency issue in the Venezuela explosion, remember that BP is responsible for the death of 11 good people, while no one died in the Venezuela situation. If you think that killing people is competent, something is wrong.

FEAR NUCLEAR!! (1)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222684)

What's up with the "Let's hope this doesn't mean they actually try the nuclear option" commentary? If the world's top physicists (not necessarily implying that Obama's and Chu have assembled such) were to claim that the nuclear option is a valid one and worth any potential risks then why wouldn't we do it? I expect Slashdot to be more Science-friendly than the typical "OMG NUKULAR == BAD!" crowd. I am not for nuclear proliferation but that doesn't mean that we must AVOID finding practical uses for them.

Re:FEAR NUCLEAR!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222704)

Um, dude, it's Obama we're talking about here.

BTW: I thought the PATRIOT act would be repealed under the man. What happened there, ObamaBitches? You got screwed by the man yet again.

Re:FEAR NUCLEAR!! (0, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222714)

Half the people on /. are environuts, another part don't know the science and claim that they do. Don't expect it to change overnight as in the US they've had 30 odd years of anti-nuclear BS shoved down their throats by environmentalists who want the world back in the stone age.

Re:FEAR NUCLEAR!! (1)

antigravity (841907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222768)

Why not just freeze it? Supercooling + concrete.

Nuclear option (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222694)

Dust off and nuke the site from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

I'm not an expert but (2, Informative)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222712)

I spent a number of years as part of a team testing nuclear devices. They could be used as Russia has done to cut this off but at a mile deep I'd be worried to death about the potential for unexpected side effects. It may be the only option we have given the current failures but the chance of a catastrophic failure is far more likely than the LHC producing a large black hole.

Are they really trying to plug it up? (4, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222758)

Are they trying to plug the leak, or are they really trying to salvage the bore there and get back to pumping oil?

The reason I ask is..why not a chernobyl style containment effort. Drop a 200 (whatever, hugemongous, the biggest they can move) ton solid concrete and steel cube on that thing, then add to it, until the leak totally stops. The first big chunk would smash the pipe flat, effectively sealing it.

It has looked to me right along as more an effort to salvage what they did so far, not actually just plug it up.

Gamma Ray Imaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222802)

Steven Chu's "nuclear" team is presumably following up on his suggestion that BP should use high-energy gamma-ray imaging to get a more precise picture of the leaking pipe. "Nuclear" doesn't always mean explosions...

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