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View Diary: Boston, MA vs West, TX (281 comments)

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  •  Well..... (6+ / 0-)

    For production of ammonium nitrate they usually start with anhydrous ammonia and nitric acid-- both of which are flammable or explosive in their own right, and anhydrous ammonia is also a severe inhalation hazard.  It's not clear to me at this point whether the factory was actually making ammonium nitrate (I should find that out).  

    This is also exactly why facilities like this are required to notify regulators of the materials they store-- so the local fire department will know for example what not to pour water on.  The problem is, these reports are generated by the company  or its consultants, don't always get a proper critical review from the regulators, and in any case the info in them can be false or incomplete.  In this case, apparently from the plant's federal "EPCRA" filing,  this sort of explosion was not supposed to be possible.  Well guess what? It was.

    In some places, such as my own Massachusetts, fire departments will lobby against places like this opening-- or will outright refuse to issue permits for chemical storage--in the interests of public safety, if the department does not have the personnel and equipment to respond to an emergency.  This is less common now that we have access to Homeland Security money and more mutual aid (including regional hazmat units), but it's still a concern.  It's no coincidence at all that the local hazmat battalion is based two miles from the Solutia plant.

    Irony is the ultimate cop-out way of turning something you didn't mean into something you did...the last refuge of the scoundrel.-- Julian Cope

    by Thunderthief on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:21:38 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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