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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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," according to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report on the Soviet Union's peaceful uses of nuclear explosions.
A last attempt took place in 1981, but failed perhaps because of poor positioning, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report.
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.
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.
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.
Two HMI Lights, Four 250 Watt in candescent lights
1 inch steel Cable Cutter
Two Manipulators Capable of lifting 250 lbs. each.
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.