New Orleans, La. – National Incident Commander Thad Allen says that before mud and cement are pumped into the broken well from the bottom, he wants assurance that the cap and blow-out preventer on top can handle the pressure.
"There's nobody that wants to have this happen quicker than I do. But there's nobody that wants to incur more risk to this operation, because when we finish this thing we need to have a stake in the heart of this well."
One option is replacing the blow-out preventer that was installed by the Deepwater Horizon rig that later exploded, triggering the oil spill. Crews might use one from a back-up relief well on site. The other calls for a pressure-relief system to be designed and built for the cap now in place. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is evaluating both options. Allen says he expects a decision in the next day or two.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.