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Lava threatens more wells at Hawaii geothermal plant

Lava engulfed the heads of two wells that tap into steam and gas deep in the Earth’s core at the 38-megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture on Saturday. Its operator, Israeli-controlled Ormat Technologies Inc , said it had not been able to assess the damage.

Residents fear the wells may be explosive. Officials have said the power plant is safe but lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world, leaving a measure of uncertainty.

At least 82 homes have been destroyed in the southeast corner of the Big Island and about 2,000 people have been ordered evacuated since Kilauea’s once-in-a-century eruption started on May 3.

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