Monday, April 25, 2011

Plan B: Nuke Frack!

Tired of the hydraulic fracturing debate?  Maybe we should look back at history for some better ideas. In fact, those who oppose hydraulic fracturing based on faulty logic and imagined data should look upon the current brand of fracturing as a very mild solution compared to one promoted by the Nixon administration in the early 70's: using underground nuclear bombs to fracture shales and sandstones to stimulate gas production.

Sounds far-fetched, I admit, but an article in yesterday's Kansas City Star documents pilot projects between 1967 and 1973 where a few sites in New Mexico and Colorado saw nuclear bombs detonated a mile or so below the surface to stimulate gas production.  Ultimately, the program was scrapped because the gas produced was slightly radioactive (!!!) and the environmental impacts were too severe.

Perhaps if Marcellus Shale gas producers had only known how strong the anti-fracking movement would be in the Northeast they would have built their negotiation position by initially promoting nuclear fracturing and compromised at hydraulic fracturing. A win-win, right?

No comments: