As oil continues to leak, some advocate nuking well

The World

BP has hit another bump in the road in its attempts to cap the oil leak when a saw got stuck in the riser pipe on Wednesday. This setback comes after many failed attempts to plug the well, including the first containment dome, the “top kill” approach and the “junk shot” technique. The current operation, known as the Lower Marine Riser Package, could capture most of the leaking oil but could allow for some to continue to escape along the margins of the apparatus.

With so many failed attempts, some are calling for a radical last-measure solution: using a nuclear explosive to destroy the well and stop the leak. The option would be politically and environmentally risky, but it may not be entirely out of the question. President Obama has already dispatched a team of five nuclear physicists to the Gulf, though there have been no mentions of considering a nuclear approach.

We talk with Christopher Brownfield, a former nuclear submarine officer and a visiting scholar on nuclear policy at Columbia University. He is also the author of the upcoming book, “My Nuclear Family.” Brownfield supports demolishing the well, but says a nuclear explosive should not be an option on the table.

But Daniel Foster disagrees. He’s the news editor for the National Review, and he says after exhausting so many other possibilities, it may be time to consider the nuclear approach.

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