Tuesday, May 22, 2018

USA, Hawaii: Lava Inches Closer to Puna Geothermal Venture but Main Flow Stays Away

Lava creeps onto geothermal plant site on Hawaii's Big Island (Reuters)

A lava flow encroaching onto the shuttered Puna Geothermal Venture power plant destroyed a warehouse on the property Monday evening, but the top executive in Hawaii for PGV said the concerns about lava inundation at the plant have been overblown.

Puna Geothermal Venture can be seen at lower
right, close to the line of lava flow. Honolulu
Star-Advertiser photo by Cindy Ellen Russell.  
Molten lava from the erupting Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island crept onto a geothermal power plant site on Monday, as workers rushed to shut down the facility to prevent the uncontrollable release of toxic gases.

Crews worked into the night to cap the 11th and final well at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, which provides about 25 percent of the Big Island’s power, as lava from an active fissure flowed 200 to 300 yards from the nearest well pad, county and federal officials said.

The plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads on the far eastern flank of Kilauea.

Within a week, some 60,000 gallons (227,124 liters) of the highly flammable chemical pentane, which was stored at the plant, were moved from harm’s way. The state said last week it was pumping cold water into the wells and would cap them with iron plugs.