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May 03, 2010

BP Trying Five Different Ways to Stop the Leak and My Suggestions for Future Mitigation and Preparation

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BP says it is working on at least five possible approaches for halting the spew of oil from a damaged well deep in the Gulf of Mexico that is feeding one of the worst spills in U.S. history.

* They still hope to seal the well at any moment using robot submarines to activate an array of shut-off valves atop the well, called a blowout preventer.
* planned to install a valve on the end of a leaking drill pipe
* installing huge containment boxes over leaks to collect the oil and send it through a mile of pipe to a ship above
* using long wands to spray chemical dispersants on the leaks at the sea floor to break up oil and keep it from rising to the surface
* lowering a second blowout preventer onto the damaged one to seal the well
* and drilling a relief well to intercept the damaged one and plug

Future Mitigation and Preparation
BP is currently building containment boxes or domes that are to be lowered to the seafloor to cover leaks. Those large steel and cement containment boxes and domes should be prebuilt and positioned on barges. If one of the thousands of deep sea oil wells in Gulf of Mexico or other places has a problem, then there would be containment boxes or domes ready to go.

Nuclear power plants have containment domes for every reactor and have to prepay for insurance against reactor accidents. The oil industry seems to be under-insured and without the means to rapidly respond or more fully prevent the leaks.

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