Czech Synthesia halts nitrocellulose production after explosion

23 August 2012 16:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Czech chemical producer Synthesia has shut down its nitrocellulose production to investigate what caused a small explosion, the company said on Thursday.

It was expected that production of nitrocellulose would be suspended for up to two weeks while, at the request of the company's emergency committee, investigators probed whether a hazardous gas leak or other factors triggered the 21 August incident, Synthesia added.

Residents who live near Synthesia's chemical production complex in Pardubice, in the central Czech Republic, were told to stay indoors for several hours to protect themselves against a cloud of released nitrate gases that could irritate the respiratory tract, the Pardubice fire brigade said.

Synthesia said it is also looking into whether extremely hot weather could have been a factor in causing the explosion, which blew the cover off a gas tank.

The company said it stored its gases according to standard methodology, but would look at adjusting its storage approach if investigators recommended that it do so.

In March this year, an extensive blaze broke out within a waste mineral oils processing unit at the Synthesia chemical complex.

Neither incident threatened the explosives production premises of Explosia, which makes the Semtex plastic explosive and is also located within the complex, Synthesia said.

Synthesia is a producer of nitrocellulose, pigments, dyes and organic chemicals. It is wholly owned by the Czech Republic-based Agrofert agrochemical and foodstuffs group.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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