Friday, June 4, 2010

Using Nukes to Kill ... An Oil Well?

It's not as crazy as you may think.  Julia Ioffe notes in a May 4th article ( that "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 petro-calamities.  The first happened in Uzbekistan on September 30, 1966, with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb at a depth of 1.5 kilometers.  KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as many as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals."  Mundane, eh?