- The size of the explosion shows that a large number left it, says Aki Ijäs, Tukes's chief inspector at the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, while watching the news images of the Beirut explosion.
The stock is, in his view, exceptionally large. According to press reports, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in the port of Beirut.
According to preliminary data, large quantities of ammonium nitrate have been stored for six years.
- How such a large amount of material has been stored in such a place for about a long time, Ijäs wonders.
The movement of large quantities may, in his view, be associated with transport.
Ijäs adds that the storage of ammonium nitrate is largely based on the fact that the safety distances are sufficient and in proportion to the amount to be stored.
- When you look at how central it has been. Residential and office buildings start right outside the warehouse, although there have been far too many to store in such a place.
According to Ijäs, the key is to store the substance in the right place and to ensure that the fire does not catch fire. The most important thing is to minimize the fire load.
- According to preliminary news, fire has apparently been a starting point here.
Ijäs says that fire is usually the most common source of accidents.
- It requires certain conditions. For example, it contains some organic combustible material or other involved that causes an explosive reaction.
Ammonium nitrate contains nitrogen. It is used to make fertilizers and also explosives.
- It is classified as an oxidizing agent, it is not classified as an explosive. When other substances are mixed with it, an explosive can be created.
From the videos and pictures, you can see what a destructive force 2,750 tons of the substance has had.
- In the surrounding areas, the explosion causes buildings to collapse, there are vehicles on their roofs and people are doing badly. In the long run, breaking glass windows is dangerous. Glasses can break for miles.
In Finland, warehouses the size of Beirut may not be kept or in a similar location.
According to Finnish regulations, the maximum amount is one hundred tons that can be stored in stacks.
- If more is stored, the stacks must be such that if an explosion occurs, it cannot occur from one stack to another.
The safety distance must be hundreds of meters. In a 100-tonne warehouse, the minimum distance to populated buildings is 350 meters.
Ijäs says that he has been in Tukes for ten years and there have been no similar explosions or accidents in Finland during that time.