A mine in fire

While the Japanese still struggle a bit at the Fukushima nuclear plant to limit any damage, the world is a the brink of hysteria. Googling around, I ran into an example of the downside of the practical alternative to nuclear power:


This mine fire has been burning since 1962, i.e. it will be 50 years old next year. The borough of Centralia is now a ghost town, with just seven people living there who still refuse to leave despite orders to evacuate.

Imagine the uproar we'd have if a uranium mine or depot would have a fire that would last 50 years and force the evacuation of an entire town... No one I've spoken to had ever heard of Centralia, though everyone has heard of Chernobyl.

The story is interesting: people didn't quite know that the earth under their feet was burning. Until a gas station owner noticed that the fuel in his underground tanks was very, very warm indeed: 78  °C.


An unrelated observation: I have not noticed anywhere any reports that there would be looting, rioting or other types of crime waves in the areas that tsunami destroyed in Japan. I suppose that could be called civilization.

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