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Final thoughts.

You can't persuade anyone who has made up their minds.

With the announcement that the Soviets used nuclear blast generated shock waves to collapse well pipes on multiple occasions, I am sure the Navy will prepare and present a proposal somewhat similar to my plan to the President. If he gives the go ahead I hope the community can deal with it.

Update: From trueslant:

   Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: "the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel."

   Yes! It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals.

I doubt there will be much support for this idea, but I believe the source of the oil spill in the gulf can be stopped tomorrow with little adverse effects, except to create a relatively small region that will be off limits to deep water drilling due to radioactive contamination on the sea floor, with a bonus in that the shock-wave will atomize the oil that is within a few miles of the source.

The first thing I would like to bring to your attention is the fact that the oil reservoir is actually 13,000 feet below the sea floor and the drilling rig created a tube that is only a few feet in diameter along that 13,000 foot line. The easiest way to stop the oil flow is to create a shake the ocean floor with a small earthquake centered off to one side and collapse that pipe.

We have set off over 2000 nuclear weapons on this planet between 1945 and 1996 according to a lecture by Princeton University Professor Alexander Glasser (Search here for "the effects of nuclear weapons"). We have been using the data collected to model nuclear explosions since the advent of computers. Our military must know what to expect from an underwater blast in the range of 1 mile underwater.

The U. S. Military was known to develop an extremely low yet variable yield nuclear weapon. The Davy Crockett had a yield that was variable from .01 to 1Kt and was in service until 1971. I doubt it would have been discontinued without a replacement. The Davy Crockett weighed 76# and it's successor would be perfect for this emergency.

A small deep sea submersible could easily carry the device inside it's pressure controlled section to eliminate the variable of water pressure and temperature. A detonation circuit wired directly to the controls of the submersible through the tether could be quickly rigged. An operator could control the submersible via radio control from a sacrificial unmanned control craft on the surface. The device would be detonated once an exclusion zone was established around the drill site.

A 1Kt yield is extremely small compared to the devices we have used before. The Little Boy blast was estimated to be between 13 and 18 Kt and Fat Man was between 20 to 22Kt. Our largest above ground test was a 13.5Mt test of the Runt II devise detonated on May 5, 1954, at Bikini Atoll.

We conducted a test of a device 2000ft underwater in Operation Wigwam on May 14, 1955, about 500 miles southwest of San Diego, California.

The test was carried out without incident, and radiation  effects were negligible. The device yielded 30 kilotons. Only three personnel received doses of over 0.5 rems.

With a yield equal to or less than 1/30th of that of Operation Wigwam and at a depth that is at least twice that test the radiation effects will be minimal away from the blast site. Gamma and Beta radiation dissipate relatively quickly and water is an excellent shield for those.

Alpha radiation particles are long lasting but they will only be dispersed by the actual explosion and will not propagate through the water with the shock wave. The worst scenario would be Alpha particles entering the atmosphere in the steam bubble of the blast but since there is no atmospheric blast to carry those particles into the upper atmosphere they would fall back into the water once the steam bubble reverts to liquid water. The steam bubble from a small blast might not propagate to the surface due to the depth of the blast.

If the detonation occurs far enough below the surface, as In the WIGWAM test in 1955 at a depth of about 2,000 feet, the bubble continues to pulsate and rise, although after three complete cycles enough steam will have condensed to make additional pulsations unlikely. During the pulsation and upward motion of the bubble, the water surrounding the bubble acquires considerable upward momentum and eventually breaks through the surface with a high velocity, e.g., 200 miles per hour in the WIGWAM event, thereby creating a large plume. If water surface breakthrough occurs while the bubble pressure is below ambient, a phenomenon called "blowin" occurs. The plume is then likely to resemble a vertical column which may break up into jets that disintegrate into spray as they travel through the air.

The activity levels of the radioactive base surge will be affected by the phase of the bubble when it breaks through the water surface. Hence, these levels may be expected to vary widely, and although the initial radiation intensities may be very high, their duration is expected to be short.

The Effects of Nuclear Weapons PDF Page 38
Compiled and edited by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan

The next issue is the intensity of the blast and the shock wave. A 1Kt blast is the equivalent of an measuring 3.9 on the Richter Scale. No one worries about the sea life of tidal waves from the estimated 12,700 earthquakes annually that have a magnitude between 4.0 and 5.

Once the heavy Alpha particles settle on the bottom it will be below the food chain and in an area too deep for fishing for sea floor dwellers.

There are two main drawbacks to the use of a small nuclear device. Few people want to accept the possibility that a nuclear explosion can be productive. There is also going to be an area with Alpha radiation contamination that will be unusable for deep water drilling.

Originally posted to Tomtech's Ramblings on Mon May 10, 2010 at 08:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Am I out of the club? (15+ / 0-)

    Can I still be an environmentally conscious progressive liberal?

    I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

    by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 08:49:31 PM PDT

    •  has this technique been used in an underwater (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Tomtech

      scenario before?

      I know that the Russians used this method three to five times, on oil wells that had catastrophic failures (I'm not certain if all were fire-or-explosion related), and it worked on all but one.

      But these were all land-based wells, and the explosions were underground.

      The 'fallout', as it were, was contained to the immediate area of the blast underground, so too any exposure to animal life (of which there is little to none at lower depths).

      But to explode a nuclear device, even a relatively small 1kt, in the open ocean of the Gulf Coast? What about the effects of radiation on the Gulf plant and animal life?

      Worse yet, what if the device explodes but fails to 'cap' the well?

      I'd save this for the very last option. I just can't see that it affords odds worth the very real and certain risks related to doing it.

      •  Water is a great shield. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, MKSinSA, erush1345

        Water tanks are placed between the reactor and the service areas as shielding so the far reaching neutron and photon radiation will have little effect on sea life in the biological zone above 1000ft. (My nuclear training was for submarines)

        The worst radiation is the Alpha radiation but Alpha emitters from a nuclear blast are heavy atoms and molecules which will fall to the ocean floor and sea life at that depth isn't in the food chain.

        The only downside is the oil field will be undrillable since the mud will be radioactive.

        I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

        by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 09:47:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good response, but still, there is the dangling (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wee Mama, Tomtech

          issue of what if it detonates, but fails to 'cap' the well.

          For me, that's the real problem.

          If it worked, great.

          But what if it fails? Then the area, as you state, would be radioactive. Wouldn't that tend to make any further attempts to stop the flow of oil a much harder job?

        •  This is BS. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tomtech, kalmoth

          You're talking about shielding sailors from radiation ONLY, emitted by a contained and controlled nuclear reaction where there's no waste leaked into the environment. The open water detonation of a bomb is an uncontrolled, uncontained nuclear reaction that will blow massive amounts of irradiated silt into an ecologically delicate body of water.

          I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.
          ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

          by The Werewolf Prophet on Tue May 11, 2010 at 12:08:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My duty station was 40 ft from the reactor. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345

            The mess hall was only about 25' and we were thankful for 10' of water tanks.

            There will be 5000' of water depth and a crew can evacuate to put 20 miles of water between them and the blast in an hour on a slow boat.

            I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

            by Tomtech on Tue May 11, 2010 at 12:44:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hulooooo! I'm not talking about radiation ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tomtech

              ... I'm talking about uncontained underwater "fallout" i.e. whenever a nuclear bomb is detonated, it creates radioactive isotopes that are widely dispersed from the blast site.

              I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.
              ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

              by The Werewolf Prophet on Tue May 11, 2010 at 08:48:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It Would Become An Open Well..... (7+ / 0-)

    From msnbc:

    The potential for a bigger leak helps explain why BP isn't blowing up the well site with torpedoes or nuclear weapons, even though some msnbc.com users have suggested that course. "My reaction to that is, why would you think that would work?" [Phillip] Johnson [a petroleum engineering professor at the University of Alabama] said.

    What is now a partially controlled wellhead would become a "big crater with a hole coming up from the bottom of it," he told me. "The pipe lying on the floor provides a better opportunity to seal this than an open well."

  •  Operation Wigwam detonation footage (8+ / 0-)

  •  That diagram is missing something... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trix, Tomtech

    Wile E. Coyote.

    :-)

    •  It wasn't my diagram. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, quixoto

      I deleted it since the scale is misleading and it didn't add to the diary.

      Realistically, the leaks are within a few thousand feet of the hole and the reservoir is 3 to 4 miles beneath the ocean floor with a relatively minute tube connecting everything.  

      I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

      by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 09:11:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about we just nuke.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, HeyMikey, Big Tex

    BP.  Probably get better results.

  •  So the suggestion, if I understand it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, kalmoth

    is that we detonate an explosion of about 1kt off to one side of the drill hole in the hope that it collapses the hole.

    It seems like a long shot to me. Perhaps if the explosion was some way below the sea bed, the pinch point on the drill hole might be low enough that it wouldn't just break through again. But if we're drilling down that far, a relief well is not much more effort.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Mon May 10, 2010 at 09:22:01 PM PDT

  •  Here are a few things I know about radiation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, Joffan, craigstellmacher

    and radioactivity. Gamma, beta, and alpha particles are the end results of radioactive decay of unstable atoms. It's the spread of those unstable atoms, which is to say the bomb material and activation products, that you have to know about. An alpha particle is just a helium nucleus once it slows down, and a beta particle is just an electron after it slows down. A gamma ray is a photon. And all three go relatively nowhere in water, you are right about that. But the radioactive materials that spawn them are a different story.

    Now about that shock wave- I don't think you can just assume that will bring good things to a pressurized well. It might cause it to leak faster.

    If you persist in these misconceptions, I'll have to put in a few recipe comments.

    Ok, that last part was humor, or snark, depending on your sense of humor.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Mon May 10, 2010 at 09:51:13 PM PDT

    •  I'm glad I read that last sentence. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, Joffan, billmosby, erush1345

      The blast produces a surge of Beta and Gamma radiation which will be shielded due to the water.

      The radioactive elements are heavy and will sink to the ocean floor once they stop their horizontal motion from the blasts energy. The water will make that area relatively small.

      The Russians have reportedly used an offset nuclear underground blast in the past to collapse wells pipes in major field fires.

      The underground blast has an advantage in that the reservoir can still be drilled after the shock wave collapsed the pipes.

      I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

      by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 10:00:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's assume we use the smallest explosion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tomtech, erush1345

      to produce the greatest length of hole collapse possible. As I see it this means an explosion under the sea bed, which then could a nuke for the ease of insertion. So to collapse the top two thousand feet of drill hole put a nuke off to the side about 1000' under the sea bed and 1000' to one side, and size according to the pressure needed at 1400'. Putting it deeper would be better, but slower. Putting it shallower might lose force to the water directly above and possibly contaminate the sea water more, altohugh at the dilution that the sea provides this would not be likely to pose a health threat to the biosphere.

      This is not a sig-line.

      by Joffan on Mon May 10, 2010 at 10:06:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to see a lot more analysis about this. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tomtech, Joffan

        Due to the subsidence effects I mentioned above. The usual underground blasts leave a bunch of pulverized material all the way to the surface, from my understanding, which then over a shorter or longer time falls into the cavity produced by the bomb. If you add the well pressure into the situation, wouldn't you at least wonder if that pulverized material would just be pushed out of the hole by the oil pressure sooner or later? Sure, you do get a glass lined cavity right where the bomb went off, but I'm not sure that's sealed enough or strong enough to resist the well pressure.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Mon May 10, 2010 at 10:10:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We can go with a relief well. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan, erush1345

          I conceded above that the reservoir could be tapped as long as the contaminated layer of mud was dealt with.

          5000' of water will decontaminate any equipment sent to the bottom and brought back up.

          A relief well will decrease the pressure on the collapsed pipe though without flow there isn't much chance the original pipe would be re-opened.

          I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

          by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 10:16:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Here it is. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, Othniel Kenaz

      Trueslant

      Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: "the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel."

      Yes! It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals.

      I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

      by Tomtech on Mon May 10, 2010 at 10:26:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Goodness -- Pravda! (3+ / 0-)

        Thank god for quality sources.  Did the Weekly World News not have an article on the subject?

        •  not Pravda... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tomtech, shigeru, erush1345

          Komsomolka, a left-leaning top-circulating Russian tabloid. Pravda was banned in 1991 after the putsch.

          •  Here's more.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tomtech

            It's a Google Translate version of a Russian list of "PNE". I knew they had done some of this, but this is pretty extensive.

            I wish I had more time to read this, but maybe somebody will get some use out of it.

            If they had lots of success with the technique, it should certainly be considered here as well. Good luck getting approvals before the reservoir runs out naturally, though, lol.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Tue May 11, 2010 at 06:56:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This paper? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tomtech

            This?

            The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid is Russia's best-selling daily newspaper. Formerly a leading Soviet youth paper, it reached the height of its popularity in 1990, when its peak daily circulation of almost 22 million secured an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Since then, it has built its reputation on a gentle nostalgia for the Soviet period, firm backing for Kremlin policy and a keen interest in celebrity news and scandal from home and abroad. Russian energy group YeSN emerged as the newspaper's largest shareholder in 2007, buying up stock from the Prof-Media holding company and the Norwegian media group A-Pressen.

  •  This approach (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech

    makes about as much sense as using a sledgehammer to pop a zit on the end of your nose.

  •  Huh??? (6+ / 0-)

    except to create a relatively small region that will be off limits to deep water drilling due to radioactive contamination on the sea floor

    1. Why would the radioactive material stick to the seafloor instead of diffusing through the water?
    1. Why would a radioactive seafloor stop drillers, who never have crew get within a mile of a deepwater seafloor?

    with a bonus in that the shock-wave will atomize the oil that is within a few miles of the source.

    1. Since when do shockwaves "atomize oil"?
    1. If you did "atomize oil" back to hydrogen and carbon, but had it trapped in an inert, capped deposit, do you know what it would condense to?  That's right -- oil.
    1. Since when does a 1kt blast "atomize" anything miles away through solid rock?
    1. If you're talking about "atomizing" things miles away, then you're "atomizing" vast amounts of sea life.

    The first thing I would like to bring to your attention is the fact that the oil reservoir is actually 13,000 feet below the sea floor and the drilling rig created a tube that is only a few feet in diameter along that 13,000 foot line. The easiest way to stop the oil flow is to create a shake the ocean floor with a small earthquake centered off to one side and collapse that pipe.

    1. Assuming you don't create natural fractures for the reservoir to leak through, forming seeps that are essentially impossible to cap.

    We have set off over 2000 nuclear weapons on this planet between 1945 and 1996 according to a lecture by Princeton University Professor Alexander Glasser (Search here for "the effects of nuclear weapons").

    1. And did tremendous damage.  Heck, we can't even carbon date modern objects any more because we've thrown off the planet's atmospheric carbon isotopic ratios so badly with nuclear testing.

    We have been using the data collected to model nuclear explosions since the advent of computers. Our military must know what to expect from an underwater blast in the range of 1 mile underwater.

    1. Yes, the words are "tsunamis" and "concussively killed sea life for miles in every direction".

    The U. S. Military was known to develop an extremely low yet variable yield nuclear weapon. The Davy Crockett had a yield that was variable from .01 to 1Kt and was in service until 1971.

    1. What's the point?  If you only want a yield of 10 to 1000 tons of TNT, why not use... you know... 10 to 1000 tons of TNT?  Or less of a higher-power or cheaper explosives (ANFO is dirt cheap, for example)?  Why contaminate?
    1. Small nukes are fiercely dirty.  Larger nukes have higher burn ratios.  The Tsar Bomba, the largest ever detonated, was also the cleanest for that reason.

    Gamma and Beta radiation dissipate relatively quickly and water is an excellent shield for those.

    1. The problem is not radiation, but radioactive materials left behind.  And dial-a-nukes leave most of it behind.

    Alpha radiation particles are long lasting but they will only be dispersed by the actual explosion and will not propagate through the water with the shock wave.

    1. Huh??? Alpha is the easiest radiation to block.  It doesn't "last".  Do you know what you call an alpha particle that's "stuck around"?  You call it helium.  Because that's what it is -- an alpha particle is a high energy helium nucleus.

    The next issue is the intensity of the blast and the shock wave. A 1Kt blast is the equivalent of an measuring 3.9 on the Richter Scale.

    1. This disagrees.

    No one worries about the sea life of tidal waves from the estimated 12,700 earthquakes annually that have a magnitude between 4.0 and 5.

    1. Tsunamis aren't the problem for sea life.  Having their eardrums blown out is.  Even small conventional explosion underwater have a significant lethality radius.
    1. Tsunamis are one part magnitude, one part depth of energy release.  The shallower the energy release, the greater the wave magnitude.

    Once the heavy Alpha particles settle on the bottom it will be below the food chain and in an area too deep for fishing for sea floor dwellers.

    1. Let's just ignore how ridiculous it is, you saying "heavy alpha particles settle to the bottom" (again, alpha particles are helium nuclei, and are the easiest thing to block -- and they're destroyed on impact due to their great energy).  What actually settles is things like plutonium.  And actually, it doesn't "settle", since a number of plutonium compounds which can form are water-soluble, and even a small amount of the metal can be dissolved in seawater.  But let's ignore that.  Since when is the ocean floor "below the food chain"?

    There are two main drawbacks to the use of a small nuclear device. Few people want to accept the possibility that a nuclear explosion can be productive. There is also going to be an area with Alpha radiation contamination that will be unusable for deep water drilling.

    1. Once again, since when do drill bits care about radiation?

    Seriously, why did you write this?  You clearly know nothing of the topic.

    •  I'll try to answer. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keith Pickering, erush1345
      1. Radioactive elements are heavier than water.
      1. I've conceded the issue on re-drilling the reservoir, The contaminated section of the sea floor will probably be easily dealt with by flushing the first few hundred feet of drill mud.

      3)Oil clumps and the shockwave will do a lot towards atomizing the oil. Like shaking thin salad dressing.

      4)Atomization, as I used it, didn't refer to breaking the molecules but spreading the molecules apart like the chemical dispersants we are currently using.

      5)The shockwave will spread through the water to break up the oil in it. The shockwave in the crust will collapse the pipe.

      6)See life is more resilient than hydrocarbon clusters.

      7)The oil is 13,000 ft below the sea floor. There are 13,0000 earthquakes annually that are more powerful then a 1Kt bomb. How often do you see them devastate sea life or open fissures to oil fields?

      8)The carbon cycle won't be damaged further then.

      9)Does 13,000 earthquakes a year which are more powerful than a 1Kt blast cause untold devastation create dozens of tsunami's a day killing sea life world wide?

      10)I doubt anyone has tested the effect of extreme pressure has on conventional explosives that can work underwater in an oxygen free environment. A baby nuke can fit in the smallest or most expendable deep sea sub without any need to test it under those environmental conditions.

      11)At a depth of 5000ft it won't matter how  dirty the bomb is the radiation and radioactive contamination will be contained. When you say cleaner, that is in relation to the bombs yield.

      12)The data we have on "dial a nuke's" is old. We can hope the military has improved on the technology. Also see 11.

      13)The Alpha emitters are the worst contaminates from nuclear usage. That's why injectable radioactive assassination was developed. The Alpha emitter is safe while contained even though there isn't any Beta or Gamma shielding but the Alpha emitter injected into the victim kills.

      14)When Wikipedia and the USGS disagree, I'll stick with the USGS.

      15)I feel for the fish, but I can live with that. It's better than 3 months preparing unproven ideas while dealing with between 2 and 10 million more barrels of oil in the gulf. A baby nuke can shut the flow off within a day of the go ahead order if the navy is prepared. Chopper in a mini sub with the tether craft, drive it down, and clear a 20 mile area and it's a go.

      16)How many tsunamis have 3.9 earthquakes created?

      17)Of the 500 atmospheric nuclear tests that have been performed from 1955 to 1980 many have been ocean tests and I haven't seen Mothra or Godzilla outside of some bad movies. I don't know of any reports where ocean based nuclear usage has devastated food chains outside of the local area and the mid term impact there.

      The IAEA's Bikini Advisory Group preliminary findings issued in 1996 contain the following statements with regard to background radiation on Bikini:

         "It is safe to walk on all of the islands...The Advisory Group reaffirmed: although the residual radioactivity on islands in Bikini Atoll is still higher than on other atolls in the Marshall islands, it is not hazardous to health at the levels measured. Indeed, there are many places in the world where people have been living for generations with higher levels of radioactivity from natural sources - such as the geological surroundings and the sun - than there is now on Bikini Atoll...By all internationally agreed scientific and medical criteria...the air, the land surface, the lagoon water and the drinking water are all safe. There is no radiological risk in visiting the lagoon or the islands. The nuclear weapon tests have left practically no cesium in marine life. The cesium deposited in the lagoon was dispersed in the ocean long ago.

         "The main radiation risk would be from the food: eating locally grown produce, such as fruit, could add significant radioactivity to the body...Eating coconuts or breadfruit from Bikini Island occasionally would be no cause for concern. But eating many over a long period of time without having taken remedial measures might result in radiation doses higher than internationally agreed safety levels."

      If Bikini Atoll can show that much improvement after many megatons of testing there the contamination from my proposal will be minuscule in comparison.

      I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

      by Tomtech on Tue May 11, 2010 at 12:35:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I happen to know something... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tomtech, Rei

        about one particular point...

        3)Oil clumps and the shockwave will do a lot towards atomizing the oil. Like shaking thin salad dressing.

        which happens to be not just wrong, but conceptually wrong and so overgeneralized I don't even know what to start with while deconstructing it. Do you know at what Mach number this will happen? Do you know at what Atwood number? Is the shock planar or oblique with respect to the water surface? What is the Weber number of the clumps?

        For a shock to do anything with the oil, it has to be strong enough to also release enough energy to boil the fucking water and kill every living fucking thing within the radius of fucking miles from where the front passes... and even then, you are still FUCKED, because the spherical shock strength decays as a power law (-3/4 Sedov-Taylor exponent, IIRC).

      •  I almost didn't even bother to reply. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tomtech, kalmoth

        But you drew me in.

        1.  Radioactive elements are heavier than water.

        Dissolution in water has nothing to with the weight of the element.  It has to do with its solubility, which is an entirely different issue.  By your logic, all of the heavy metals in Berkeley Pit should have settled to the bottom.  It contains so much dissolved metals that they actually mine metals straight from the water!

        3)Oil clumps and the shockwave will do a lot towards atomizing the oil. Like shaking thin salad dressing.

        "Shaking" is not "atomizing".  And you want to loosen oil in the rock if you want to extract it.  Nuclear weapons were actually proposed back in the 1970s to facilitate production of both oil shale and bitumen.

        4)Atomization, as I used it, didn't refer to breaking the molecules but spreading the molecules apart like the chemical dispersants we are currently using.

        Let's start at the beginning.  I assume you at least know what oil is.  It's clear you don't know at all about how it's produced.  Oil forms when kerogenous rock, often oil shale, is heated under pressure.  But that's only how it forms; that doesn't mean that you can harvest it.  As a liquid (and often with gasses), it tends to migrate; when it reaches the surface, it turns into tar and the gasses escape and break down.  So you need a "reservoir" and a "trap".  The reservoir is porous rock with a "cap" over it (an impermiable rock).  The trap is a geological element which creates a "pocket" for the oil or gas to collect in so that it can't just flow around the sides (often a fold or fault).  

        The flow rate of oil depends on a variety of properties:

        1. The pressure
        1. The porosity of the rock
        1. The permiability of the rock (how well oil flows through it)
        1. The viscosity of the oil

        Pressure is the easiest to deal with.  That's what injection wells are for.  Viscosity can be harder to deal with, but not too much; that's what solvents are for.  Porosity determines how concentrated the oil is, so it's a fundamental limit.  Permeability is the really tricky one.  To increase permeability, you have to "frac" (fracture) the reservoir (there are all sorts of techniques to do this).  To sum up, shocking oil reservoirs is a good thing for increasing oil production.  A petroleum geologist's dream reservoir is basically a pile of buried talus.

        5)The shockwave will spread through the water to break up the oil in it.

        In the absence of a surfactant, oil will continue agglomerating automatically.  That's its natural property -- oil in water forms clumps and films.  And if you're slamming oil droplets hard enough to break them up, you're going to be obliterating even plankton, let alone larger animals.

        The shockwave in the crust will collapse the pipe.

        And fracture the rock around it.  You know, explosives are used for mining for a reason.

        6)See life is more resilient than hydrocarbon clusters.

        Is that a joke?  People use dynamite for fishing.  A single stick of dynamite will kill or stun all the fish in a small lake.  Sea mammals are even more vulnerable (lungs are highly susceptible to underwater blasts due to the sharp density changes).  You're talking thousands of tons of TNT equivalent

        7)The oil is 13,000 ft below the sea floor. There are 13,0000 earthquakes annually that are more powerful then a 1Kt bomb. How often do you see them devastate sea life or open fissures to oil fields?

        The USGS numbers show that 1KT is about 5.3 magnitude.  The 5-5.9 category is approximately 1319 times per year worldwide.  Earthquakes absolutely do kill sea life, and this is with them being dozens of miles underground.  And it's not mere energy release that kills sea life; it's how fast the shock wave is travelling.  S-waves are irrelevant.  P-waves are, but 1500m/s is nothing compared to the 7000m/s detonation velocity of TNT or the obscenely fast detonation velocity of nuclear weapons (heck, the rate of the shock wave is more limited by how fast the x-rays are absorbed than anything else)

        8)The carbon cycle won't be damaged further then.

        Do you know what "for example" means?  Heck, we raised the whole bloody planet's background radiation level by 7% -- many orders of magnitude more closer to the blasts  :P

        9, see above.

        10)I doubt anyone has tested the effect of extreme pressure has on conventional explosives that can work underwater in an oxygen free environment.

        Dear god -- you not only don't know how nuclear explosions or oil drilling work, but you don't even know how conventional explosives work?  Let's be explicit:

        Explosives Do Not Require Oxygen

        The very reason that they can burn quickly enough to quality as an explosive is that they contain their own oxidizer (or don't need an oxidizer).  And haven't tested explosives underwater?   Seriously, what do you think the Navy has been doing for the past 150 years?

        11)At a depth of 5000ft it won't matter how  dirty the bomb is the radiation and radioactive contamination will be contained. When you say cleaner, that is in relation to the bombs yield.

        Do you know the main purpose of small nukes like the Davy Crocket?  It was to irradiate the landscape so badly that troops couldn't occupy it for days.  They were practically dirty bombs.  Only a small fraction of the fissile materials are actually burned up; the rest are scattered.

        12)The data we have on "dial a nuke's" is old. We can hope the military has improved on the technology. Also see 11.

        The US has been stagnant on nuclear weapons research for decades because there's no funding for it.  The Republicans keep trying to get funding back, unsuccessfully.  And the reason that they're dirty is not because they're "low tech"; it's that because the higher the yield, the more neutrons you have flying about ensuring that everything reacts.

        And you know what the best part is?  Such weapons don't exist.  They were withdrawn from each nation's respective arsenals in advance of the START treaty talks as being too destabilizing of an influence.

        13)The Alpha emitters are the worst contaminates from nuclear usage.

        Alpha emitters are not alpha radiation!  And alpha emitters are the best contamination from nuclear usage.  Alpha radiation can be stopped the skin or a few centimeters of air.  Alpha causes flash burn in high quantities, nothing more.  In low quantities, it basically has zero effect.

        That's why injectable radioactive assassination was developed.

        Only when specific elements are injected or consumed so that they're destroying your cells from within, and only those with short half lifes.  Namely, polonium-210 (which isn't created in quantity from nuclear explosions; it's made by irradiating bismuth with neutrons).  The most damaging isotope from nuclear weapons in the short term is iodine-131 (beta and gamma).  In the long term, they are strontium-90 (beta) and cesium-137 (beta).  These are all bioaccumulative (they stay in the body) and can be passed on through milk, and have half-lives of about 30 years.  Unlike with a reactor accident, strontium-90 is the bigger threat of the two in a nuclear blast.  It gets locked up in the bones.  

        14)When Wikipedia and the USGS disagree, I'll stick with the USGS.

        I cited the USGS above.  Wikipedia sourced itself from the USGS.

        15)I feel for the fish, but I can live with that.

        If you're not trying to save sea life, then what's the bloody point?

        It's better than 3 months preparing unproven ideas while dealing with between 2 and 10 million more barrels of oil in the gulf.

        Right, because we can get a nuclear weapon on the seafloor in a matter of hours.  :P  We could get a thousand tons of ANFO there in relatively short order, but that's not as glamorous, now is it?  It, too, would be a stupid idea -- just not as dumb.

        A baby nuke can shut the flow off within a day of the go ahead order if the navy is prepared.

        No.  Our nuclear weapons delivery systems are designed for above-surface delivery, not ocean-bottom, and the size of our warheads on such systems are way larger than you described.  Transporting nuclear weapons over US soil is not a simple process (after a number of near disasters in the past, including an aircraft which exploded during takeoff while carrying an armed nuclear warhead (which, thankfully, did not detonate))

        Not to mention the fact that the weapons that you describe don't exist anymore.

        How many tsunamis have 3.9 earthquakes created?

        It's 5.3, nobody knows the number, and tsunamis are far more likely from underwater nuclear blasts since earthquakes release their energy deep underground -- which I already told you, but you're ignoring.

        17)Of the 500 atmospheric nuclear tests that have been performed from 1955 to 1980 many have been ocean tests and I haven't seen Mothra or Godzilla outside of some bad movies.

        Wow... I'm trying to have a scientific discussion and you're invoking monster movies.  Pathetic.

        Nuclear explosion testing, both on land and at sea, is conducted far away from productive areas.  This includes fisheries.  

        I don't know of any reports where ocean based nuclear usage has devastated food chains outside of the local area and the mid term impact there.

        Yes, half a century later.  Here's what happened in the mean time.  And even today, do you really think this is acceptable for our nation's biggest fishery?

        "The main radiation risk would be from the food: eating locally grown produce, such as fruit, could add significant radioactivity to the body...Eating coconuts or breadfruit from Bikini Island occasionally would be no cause for concern. But eating many over a long period of time without having taken remedial measures might result in radiation doses higher than internationally agreed safety levels."

    •  sadly, I concur... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tomtech, Rei

      Seriously, why did you write this?  You clearly know nothing of the topic.

    •  Thank you for your rational answer. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tomtech, kalmoth, Rei

      I just woke up, and you seem to be almost alone in objecting to this Glenn Beck plan to solve pollution...

      There is insufficient evidence to warrant suggesting this would work on the ocean floor, and there is plenty of evidence that the fallout(s) would be profound.

  •  A few points... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech

    First, it was already discussed here, at least twice. Second, to properly deploy the low-yield nuke (or a conventional explosive), one would have to drill to a depth of 1 km or a bit more under the sea surface, then put in the nuke, and then seal the shaft. The time to do that would be on the same order as the time to drill the second well to relieve the pressure, so this technique would not save much time.

  •  A surprisingly good use for nuclear weapons (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, Roadbed Guy, erush1345

    Nukes save the planet again.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll stand for anything.

    by Keith Pickering on Tue May 11, 2010 at 01:22:01 AM PDT

  •  Good stuff Tom (0+ / 0-)

    You're right of course,  I guess we'll just wait and see if the Navy is ordered to prove to you right.

    Thought this website might be of interest to you...

    CHAPTER II: Descriptions of Nuclear Explosions

    DESCRIPTION OF UNDERWATER BURSTS
    http://www.abomb1.org/...

  •  I'm plunging into flower gardening. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter

    For years the planters around my home have been sparse or barren and I hope to change that in the next couple of years, but I have never developed any interest in planting or gardening.

    Here is my front yard and my problem. The picture was taken during the winter at about 10:00 AM. The tree shown has thick leaves from mid March until late October and it blocks the sun for most of the day from the planter east of the doorway while the planter west of the doorway gets full sun from 9 or 10AM until sundown. I have a East facing planter which gets 3 to 4 hours of late morning sunlight. And a small 1' X 3' West facing Planter that gets 3 to 4 hours of early afternoon Sunlight.

    This Spring and Summer I am concentrating on planning and prep. This Fall and next year I hope to establishing perennial cover and flowering bushes which can be trimmed at 3 to 4 ft. I will add annuals as necessary next spring and thereafter.

    If I choose my plants properly they will all require the same water and nutritions and thrive together.

    I live in far North East Texas where we get a couple of week long freezes each winter and our coldest nights reach the mid teens. Our summers have been known to exceed 100 degrees for most of August and a few days in late July.

    Does the tree's shadow count as shade time? Many plants are rated by how much sunlight they receive, is that Spring-Summer average hours? Any advise will be appreciated.

    I'm no Nate Silver, TomTech, or VoteforAmerica ("WineRev" Eeman, Recounting Minnesota)

    by Tomtech on Fri May 14, 2010 at 10:57:43 PM PDT

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