Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Threatens Crucial Israeli-Owned Power Plant

Posted May 24, 2018

Ormat Technologies, which owns a 63 percent stake in the plant, announced it had taken several precautionary measures to protect the plant, including shutting down the geothermal wells, and that it so far has escaped serious physical damage.

Utility crews racing to quench the wells with cold water and cap the well heads with iron plugs before lava could reach them managed to secure the site. The lava approached the southernmost point of the station's boundaries and a disused building belonging to the University of Hawaii caught fire, it stated.

The agency said they are also using aircaft to fly over the eruption and detect changes in the volcano's topography that come with the lava flows.

GETTYThe Hawaii resident tried to tackle the intense heat armed with only a fire extinguisher and hose

Puna supplies 25% of the Big Island's power, and had been built smack in the rift zone of Kilauea.

Lava destroyed a building near the plant late Monday, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes. The plant harnesses heat and steam from the earth's core to spin turbines to generate power. GLISTIN was created to monitor ice sheets, but it can also detect changes in the Kilauea landscape caused by the outburst, agency officials said.

Nighttime photos released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey show the flames spouting from cracks in the pavement in the Leilani Estates neighborhood where the volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks. Earlier this month, officials removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

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Lava flows from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.U.S.

Jessica Ferracane, park spokeswoman, said preparations are ongoing to reopen Chain of Craters Road as an emergency evacuation route through the park, should lava make Highway 130 impassable. Kilauea's summit is now belching 15,000 tons (13,607 metric tons) of the gas each day up from 6,000 tons (5443 metric tons) daily prior to the May 3 eruption.

Clinton says he was on the roof of a home, helping to put out fires caused by flying rocks, when an explosion a couple hundred yards away launched a lava bomb that hit him above the ankle. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

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Doctors were able to save his leg, but he must stay off of it for six weeks.

Authorities also were monitoring hazards from noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles - called laze, a mix of lava and haze - emitted into the air from lava streams pouring into the Pacific Ocean on the south end of the island, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the geothermal plant.

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