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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ghosts of Project Plowshare

Plowshare was the overall name given to US projects during the 60's and 70's that used nuclear devices (that's weapons, folks) to perform peaceful functions like creating massive water reservoirs, or tapping natural gas deposits that were encased in rock, or creating large underground stored energy reservoirs. There were many ideas and many tests. The Soviets had a similar program, and also dug canal sections with lines of devices.

The ghost of such projects has appeared again, and seems not to be disappearing with just a glimpse. Now, as shown in this article, one of the men directly involved with the old Soviet program feels that the Deepwater Horizon drill site that BP is fighting with in the Gulf of Mexico should be .. nuked.

I mentioned this idea once before in this blog and I'd like to point out that while the Soviets did apparently attempt to test this concept with above-ground operations it's never been tested a mile under water with, if I've read correctly, about a 4,500 psig difference between sea pressure at that depth and well head pressure. You would need to liquify and then instantly cool a large amount of material to fully seal the well off, it seems to me; making a big rubble pile will just result in a half square mile of porous oil-leaking sea bed.

What makes me mention this again is the fact that someone who actually DID WORK with such a program is now advocating the idea. I've always admired our nuclear weaponeers, particularly Dr. Edward Teller and Dr. Frank Shelton, and I wonder myself, now, if anyone still living here with direct Plowshare experience has been contacted for an opinion.

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