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Never-Ending Leak?

Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 3:54 AM

BP's 'cut-and-cap' scheme hit a snag as the saw blade became wedged/stuck in the pipe, mid-cut.

They will next attempt to use metal shears to complete the job.

Japanese physicist Michio Kaku warns that the leak could last well past August, and possibly for years (yes, that's plural).

And, given how successful BP's other attempts have been, just how much credibility should we give to their claim that the relief well is the best solution?

People keep suggesting that a low-yield tactical nuke be dropped on the site to seal it off.

Except it doesn't work that way. The explosive force would travel outward in a sphere, affecting not only the target site, but the surrounding area - possibly fracturing the crust and adding to the problem, as well as endangering other nearby drilling sites. (And, apparently, there's an old munitions dump site nearby.)

The most common rebuttal is, "Well, not a nuke then. Let's use conventional explosives."

NO! Same problem - you're not magically fusing rock with the Enterprise's phasers from orbit, or with a Green Lantern power ring, you're hoping to generate enough force to collapse the drill shaft. You don't swat a fly with a wrecking ball.

As oil begins washing ashore in Alabama and Mississippi, there's no denying the scope of the problem. But we're not well-served by strategies from Hollywood blockbusters, any more than '24' provides sound national security policy.

And what's with the government approving a new lease for offshore drilling off Louisiana (albeit in shallower water)?

It would seem to me that an extensive review of inspection procedures, a re-examination of safety procedures and response requirements for any rig operator, and some kind of safety stand-down is in order.

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