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Obama sends nuke experts to Gulf oil leak
The US has sent a team of nuclear physicists to help BP plug the “catastrophic” flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking Deepwater Horizon well, as the Obama administration becomes frustrated with the oil giant’s inability to control the situation.
May 14, 2010
The five-man team – which includes a man who helped develop the first hydrogen bomb in the 1950s – is the brainchild of Steven Chu, President Obama’s Energy Secretary.
He has charged the men with finding solutions to stop the flow of oil.
President Obama yesterday promised a “relentless” effort to resolve the problem as he criticised the “cozy relationship” BP and other oil companies have with US regulators in Washington.
He also denounced the attempts by executives from BP, Transocean and Haliburtion to blame each other during this week’s congressional hearings into the rig disaster. “I will not tolerate more finger pointing or irresponsibility.” Mr Obama said.
The five scientists visited BP’s main crisis centre in Houston earlier this week, along with Mr Chu, and are to continue to work with the company’s scientists and external advisers to reach an answer.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Hayward said the five-hour meeting involved a “very deep dive” into the situation at hand, with “lots of nuclear physicists and all sorts of people coming up with some quite good ideas actually.”
Pressed further about the meeting, he said they had “come up with one good idea” but declined to elaborate.
The five include 82-year-old Richard Garwin, who designed the first hydrogen bomb, and Tom Hunter, head of the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Labs.
In addition, Mr Chu has already despatched Marcia McNutt, the head of the US Geological Service, to the oil company.
Mr Hayward is understood to be feeling the weight of increased pressure from Washington, following Mr Chu and Interior Secterary Ken Salazar’s visit earlier this week and a series of testy Congressional hearings.
In an memo to BP staff, Mr Hayward wrote that reports of the hearings had made for “difficult viewing or reading”.
He has told a number of his senior team they must stay with him in Houston until the problem is resolved, and was seen in Louisiana meeting with Robert Dudley, executive vice-president of BP’s operations in the Americas.
President Obama accused BP and its contractors of “falling over each other to point the finger of blame at someone else,” while adding “the potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy and its people require us to continue our relentless efforts to stop the leak.”
Thad Allen, a Coast Guard commandant, said that the slick “has the potential to be catastrophic.”
BP was last night trying to position a “top hat” containment device – intended to slow the flow of oil – while still working on its final “top-kill” solution which involves filling the well with old golf balls and pieces of car tyre, followed by mud and then cement, in an attempt to absorb and then stop the flow.
A Nuclear Blast Will Stop Gulf Oil Leak
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