Will the U.S. Nuke the Oil Spill? Don’t Bet On It

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It could be an explosive way to end the oil spill, but no one in the U.S. government is ready to break out the nukes.

So says a report in today’s New York Times, which dives into the persistent buzz that the fastest option for ending the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be to use a nuclear weapon to collapse the well. The theory stems from the Soviet Union, who reportedly used nuclear weapons to stanch runaway gushers beginning in the 1960s.

While a nuclear weapon could hypothetically generate the power necessary to melt enough rock to re-seal the deep-sea gash, it’s not a method under consideration by the Obama Administration. “It’s crazy,” says one senior official to the Times.

Why the nuclear nixing? Part of it has to do with Obama’s recent push toward further reduction in the number of nuclear weapons. Use of a nuke — even in a peaceful situation — would also violate arms agreements signed by the U.S. And, of course, there’s the trifling concern of radiation and nuclear fallout — and the chance the bomb might make the flow worse.