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Japan chemicals plant blast kills one, injures 22

23 April 2012

Two explosions and a fire occurred at Mitsui Chemicals' Iwakuni-Ohtake plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan, killing one worker and injuring at least 22 others on April 22. 

The deceased was a 22-year-old male employee and most of the seriously injured were company employees and workers for subcontracting companies, with at least four residents in the neighbourhood also slightly injured, police said.

Mitsui said the first explosion took place in a resorcinol facility at the plant, which caused a fire that spread to a cymene plant and pipe rack, with a subsequent explosion in the resorcinol facility. The plant makes precursors for adhesives, but there are also unconfirmed reports that there are containers of nuclear waste onsite.

Windows of around 100 houses near the plant were broken by the explosion, and reports late on April 23 said the fire had been extinguished.

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