Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


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A powerpoint looking at the possibility of sealing the Deepwater Horizon oil leak with a small nuclear bomb.

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  • Click “Oil Spill” for a video containing information, quotes, images, footage and headlines.
  • At these rates, it could take up to 782 years to drain all the oil.
  • Chemical Dispersants are being sprayed onto oil slicks to accelerate the process of natural dispersion . Oil spill dispersants do not actually reduce the total amount of oil entering the environment. Rather, they change the inherent chemical and physical properties of oil, thereby changing the oil’s transport, fate and potential effects. The objective of dispersant use is to enhance the amount of oil that physically mixes into the water column, reducing the potential that a surface slick will contaminate shoreline habitats or come into contact with birds, marine mammals, or other organisms that exist on the water surface or shoreline. On April 28, BP performed the first controlled burn of surface oil. Controlled burns continued to be used at the Deepwater Horizon spill site through mid-May, when conditions were right. This represents the first on-water in-situ burning at a spill since the 1989 test burn during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which was the first time a fire-resistant boom was used at a spill.  By June 22, more than 225 controlled burns have been conducted that removed more than 9.3 million gallons of oil from the open water. The construction of about 80 miles of sand berms along barrier islands and wetlands was to capture oil from the spill. The idea is that the oil would collect behind these walls of sand so cleanup crews could suck it up before it reaches the marshes. The plan required a permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers and from the U.S. Coast Guard which oversees the government response. But federal officials and some scientists expressed concern about the plan.  Some experts question whether dredging companies could build up the barrier islands quickly enough to save the marshes. There is also concern that the kind of sand berms envisioned in the plan might wash away quickly after a couple of storms, wasting scarce sand in the region.  Some scientists are concerned that the berms could block inlets that carry water to the wetlands on shore and interfere with the movement of organisms that depend on tidal flushing.
  • The seafloor is comprised of igneous rock, mainly basalt. This rock melts at around a temperature of 1450°C.
  • In mid-April, United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu assembled a team of nuclear physicists, including hydrogen bomb designer Richard Garwin and Sandia National Laboratories director Tom Hunter. On 24 May BP ruled out conventional explosives, saying that if blasts failed to clog the well, "We would have denied ourselves all other options.” Federal officials also ruled out nuclear devices due to environmental and political risks, and because it would violate the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Allen stated, "since we don't know the condition of that well bore or the casings, I would be cautious about putting any kind of kinetic energy on that well head, because what you may do is create open communication between the reservoir and the sea floor." Allen also said that the result could be oil seeping through cracks and through the seafloor, "and then be uncontrolled until the reservoir pressure equalized with the hydrostatic pressure; I think that's a risk that's too great to take a chance on, myself." Casing integrity concerns also influenced the pressure chosen for the top kill procedure.
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  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    1. 2. <ul><li>On 20 April, 2010 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 men and sent millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. </li></ul><ul><li>The gusher is estimated by the quasi-official Flow Rate Technical Group to be flowing at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day. </li></ul><ul><li>The size of reservoir – as estimated by BP and its partner – is between 2.5B and 10B bbl. </li></ul>Kall
    2. 3. <ul><li>The speed at which oil has been flowing out of the spill is monitored and recorded. </li></ul>ABC
    3. 4. <ul><li>At the time of the explosion, the Deepwater Horizon rig was drilling an exploratory well at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet and another 13,000 feet into the crust of the earth. </li></ul><ul><li>The rig was located in the in the Macondo Prospect, in the Mississippi Canyon Block 252 of the Gulf of Mexico, in the United States exclusive economic zone, about 41 miles (66 km) off the Louisiana coast. </li></ul>Transocean
    4. 5. Cleveland
    5. 6. <ul><li>BP are drilling two relief wells into the original well to enable them to block it. Once the relief wells reach the original borehole, the operator will pump drilling fluid into the original well. </li></ul><ul><li>Development Driller III started drilling a first relief well on 2 May and was at 8,762 feet (out of 18,000 feet) as of 16 th June. </li></ul><ul><li>Development Driller II started drilling a second relief on 18 May and was halted at 8,576 feet as of 16th June. </li></ul><ul><li>The relief wells are expected to begin operating in August at about $100 million per well. </li></ul>Associated Press
    6. 7. <ul><li>There are two basic types of nuclear weapon. The first type produces its explosive energy through nuclear fission reactions alone. Such fission weapons are commonly referred to as atomic bombs or atom bombs, though their energy comes specifically from the nucleus of the atom. </li></ul><ul><li>The second basic type of nuclear weapon produces a large amount of its energy through nuclear fusion reactions. Such fusion weapons are generally referred to as thermonuclear weapons or more colloquially as hydrogen bombs (abbreviated as H-bombs), as they rely on fusion reactions between isotopes of hydrogen. </li></ul>Search
    7. 8. Fission
    8. 9. Davies
    9. 10. <ul><li>The Russians previously used nukes at least five times to seal off gas well fires. A targeted nuclear explosion might similarly help seal off the oil well channel that has leaked oil unchecked since the sinking of a BP oil rig on April 22, according to a translation of the account in the daily newspaper Komsomoloskaya Pravda by Julia Loffe of the news website True/Slant. </li></ul><ul><li>A first test in the fall of 1966 proved successful in sealing up an underground gas well in southern Uzbekistan, and so the Russians used nukes four more times for capping runaway wells. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The second 'success' gave Soviet scientists great confidence in the use of this new technique for rapidly and effectively controlling ran away gas and oil wells,&quot; according to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report on the Soviet Union's peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. </li></ul><ul><li>A last attempt took place in 1981, but failed perhaps because of poor positioning, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report. </li></ul><ul><li>Komsomoloskaya Pravda suggested that the United States might as well take a chance with a nuke, based on the historical 20-percent failure rate. Still, the Soviet experience with nuking underground gas wells could prove easier in retrospect than trying to seal the Gulf of Mexico’s oil well disaster that's taking place 5,000 feet below the surface. </li></ul><ul><li>The Russians were using nukes to extinguish gas well fires in natural gas fields, not sealing oil wells gushing liquid, so there are big differences, and this method has never been tested in such conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Besides the possibility of failure, there are always risks when dealing with radiation, though material from the DOE report suggests these are minimal since the radiation would be far underground. </li></ul>Hsu
    10. 11. <ul><li>http:// = CpPNQoTlacU </li></ul>
    11. 12. <ul><li>The energy released from a nuclear weapon detonated in the troposphere can be divided into four basic categories: </li></ul><ul><li>Blast; 40-50% of total energy </li></ul><ul><li>Thermal radiation; 30-50% of total energy </li></ul><ul><li>Ionizing radiation; 5% of total energy </li></ul><ul><li>Residual radiation; 5-10% of total energy </li></ul><ul><li>However, depending on the design of the weapon and the environment in which it is detonated the energy distributed to these categories can be increased or decreased. </li></ul>Tutorvisa
    12. 13. <ul><li>Specifications: </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum Depth 5,000 ft </li></ul><ul><li>Weight: 4,500 lbs. </li></ul><ul><li>Dimensions: 4x4x8ft </li></ul><ul><li>Speed: 4 Knots Forward/AFT and 2 Knots Laterally Fly Away Capable </li></ul><ul><li>107-122kHz CTFM SONAR, 2000 ft range, (EDO 250) </li></ul><ul><li>Two black and white video cameras (OSPREY SL-90) </li></ul><ul><li>Two HMI Lights, Four 250 Watt in candescent lights </li></ul><ul><li>1 inch steel Cable Cutter </li></ul><ul><li>Two Manipulators Capable of lifting 250 lbs. each. </li></ul><ul><li>Water pressure increases with depth because the deeper you go in the ocean, the more water there is pressing down on you. Specially designed research submarines can dive deeper than 5,000 feet. Their hulls are designed to resist the intense pressure that would crush an ordinary submarine in seconds. </li></ul>Mohl & Streed
    13. 14. <ul><li>All accessed 12/07/10 </li></ul><ul><li>ABC: http:// =10964694 </li></ul><ul><li>Associated Press: </li></ul><ul><li>Cleveland: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Davies: </li></ul><ul><li>Fission: </li></ul><ul><li>Hsu: </li></ul><ul><li>Kall: </li></ul><ul><li>Kulkarni: </li></ul><ul><li>Mohl: </li></ul><ul><li>Search: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Streed: </li></ul><ul><li>Transocean: </li></ul><ul><li>Tutorvisa: http:// /bow/effects-of-nuclear-explosions </li></ul>