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Beirut Explosion, so what was it?

Yokel

LE
Question for @Ortholith and @dingerr (and anyone else who might know) - can Ammonium Nitrate be madequate safe by adding other chemicals? I am sure I heard somewhere that during the troubles in Ulster farmers were unable to buy the pure stuff, but the additives not only made it less explosive but were good for soil.
 
no confirmation regarding the source of the photo


If they were the same, wouldnt the building in the second photo now just be a big hole in the ground?
 
Question for @Ortholith and @dingerr (and anyone else who might know) - can Ammonium Nitrate be madequate safe by adding other chemicals? I am sure I heard somewhere that during the troubles in Ulster farmers were unable to buy the pure stuff, but the additives not only made it less explosive but were good for soil.

There’s currently an international commission looking at explosive precursors for exactly this reason. Ammonium Nitrate being a major focus.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
A big bang and an overwhelmed medical system struggling to cope with C19. Not a good day.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
A chap from Cheshire East Roads Dept has been despatched to help with the repairs. He’ll stamp in a couple of shovel fulls of left over tarmac and retire to his van to smoke rollies and scarf a few Chatwin’s pies.

You'll never even know anything happened once he’s done.
The blokes around here need to look at yours to see what hard work is!
 
A big bang and an overwhelmed medical system struggling to cope with C19. Not a good day.
Equally, it may in a very back-handed way set a reset button to get some broad ranging rebuilding & infrastructure going...over a good number of years.
Or, it may see Beirut (more so) resembling Allepo The Sequel for decades.
Not a lot of suitable acres to dump hundreds of thousands of toxic rubble eg post Twin Towers.
In the cold light of a new dawn...it's bloody grim really.
 
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Stabwedge

Clanker
Question for @Ortholith and @dingerr (and anyone else who might know) - can Ammonium Nitrate be madequate safe by adding other chemicals? I am sure I heard somewhere that during the troubles in Ulster farmers were unable to buy the pure stuff, but the additives not only made it less explosive but were good for soil.
The stuff bought by farmers in NI had to have a nitrate percentage below a set limit, I forget what that limit was. The fertilisers sold here had no additives really, just a different mix of chemicals to give less nitrogen, e.g. phosphorus or potassium nitrates instead of ammonium nitrate. As long as the percentage of nitrates was below the limit, all was good. It would still go bang though, e.g. Co-op mix.

All from memory so I’ll take any corrections.
Edit to add: The Co-op bombing may have been the trigger for the nitrate limit being imposed. Hazy memory.
 
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Question for @Ortholith and @dingerr (and anyone else who might know) - can Ammonium Nitrate be madequate safe by adding other chemicals? I am sure I heard somewhere that during the troubles in Ulster farmers were unable to buy the pure stuff, but the additives not only made it less explosive but were good for soil.

The level of nitrogen was restricted in NI, 15% max is in my head, but that would need to be checked.

Im not aware of any additives that reduce the hazard. The primary hazard is as an oxidiser (5.1), if you added some chemical that removed that risk I suspect it would no longer be effective for its legitimate uses.

As with all dangerous goods, it’s about the safety measures employed to prevent disasters happening, the problem being that these measures can be restrictive and expensive, prompting some to ignore them because they don’t appreciate the risk.

Even in the UK people ignore the regulations and disasters happen.

 
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117194491_10158167002072489_5695699598231568308_n.jpg
 

Oops

War Hero
A chap from Cheshire East Roads Dept has been despatched to help with the repairs. He’ll stamp in a couple of shovel fulls of left over tarmac and retire to his van to smoke rollies and scarf a few Chatwin’s pies.

You'll never even know anything happened once he’s done.
I wonder whether you'd hear it if Kemira's pile went up at Ince?

Well, they pull a big sheet over it to stop it getting wet.
Tis a bugger if you get a load off the bottom, hard and crusty.
It's a reet pain, dropping the 600 kg bags onto concrete usually does the job until a bag splits!
Question for @Ortholith and @dingerr (and anyone else who might know) - can Ammonium Nitrate be madequate safe by adding other chemicals? I am sure I heard somewhere that during the troubles in Ulster farmers were unable to buy the pure stuff, but the additives not only made it less explosive but were good for soil.
A while ago, when there was a bit of bother with Alan's Acolytes we got a printed set of advisory notes as to 'how' 'what' and 'where' to report tampering with our pile of AN (34.5%) from our local suppliers, along with a bit of racial profiling that pointed along the A59 towards Preston rather than the usual Liverpool direction.
I'm sure if the Guardian got hold of the leaflet a few folk would've got in a fair bit of bother.

At £300/ton it's not like you'd not bother looking after the stuff.

Istr the regs. state we're not allowed to store >30t in one pile without notifying local Fire Station.
Nobody that I know of does.
 

green_slime

Old-Salt
you can add calcium nitrate which lowers its explosive capability, but as it is used in mining, road creation etc there is a demand to keep it in a concentrated state.
 

Stabwedge

Clanker
The level of nitrogen was restricted in NI, 15% max is in my head, but that would need to be checked.

Im not aware of any additives that reduce the hazard. The primary hazard is as an oxidiser (5.1), if you added some chemical that removed that risk I suspect it would no longer be effective for its legitimate uses.

As with all dangerous goods, it’s about the safety measures employed to prevent disasters happening, the problem being that these measures can be restrictive and expensive, prompting some to ignore them because they don’t appreciate the risk.

Even in the UK people ignore the regulations and disasters happen.

The Peterborough Explosion was part of my training. It was wheeled out every couple of years as part of ongoing refreshers. Many different refreshers using videos, studies and reports from incidents around the world. Found it all very interesting. And useful. Although watching the same video for the fifth or sixth time lost some of it’s appeal.
 
In its own right ammonium nitrate is stable(ish). The amount of red smoke looks like unburnt material. Likely to be an initial explosion that resulted in the rest joining in. What that initial reaction will be would be the key. It could be accidental -oil leak combined with extreme heat, or something deliberate.
For one terrible moment I thought someone had bombed the Hakedahl estate in Detmold.

Will the fallout from the unburnt AN result in an unexpected windfall for the region's citrus fruit growers? And is there a bloke in Gaza cursing EM for interrupting supply to his bomb-making enterprise?

On the plus side, they might be able to find Terry Waite's bike once the dust has settled...
 
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