A huge fire at a natural gas field in Uzbekistan started in 1963. The Russians detonated an underground nuclear charge to extinguish a huge fire at a natural gas field in Uzbekistan. The unlimited gas supply at the Urta-Bulak gas well fueled it continuously and powerful hoses were unable to put it out. Eventually, on September 30, 1966, the area was cleared and a large nuclear bomb lowed into the ground in a brave attempt to cut off the source of the gas forever. Boreholes were drilled to a depth of about 1500 metres, and a 30-kiloton nuclear explosive lowered into the borehole just 35 metres from the shaft of the gas well. When it went off, the explosion turned the rock to glass, sealing the shaft and successfully extinguishing fire. No radioactivity above background levels was detected in subsequent surveys.
The nuclear charge was reported to be of an 'unprecedented force' and it is believed to be the first time that such an explosion was used to quell a gas-well fire after all conventional methods were exhausted.