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Officials support new Australian ammonium nitrate plant, despite explosion fears

19 December 2012

ABC TV reports that the Newcastle Port Corporation is backing plans for another ammonium nitrate plant in the city, despite fears about the potential for a catastrophic explosion. Incitec Pivot will wait two years before deciding if it presses ahead with plans for a $650 million ammonium nitrate plant on Newcastle's Kooragang Island.

Orica's existing  Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant
Orica's existing Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant

Residents are concerned about the potential for an explosion, as well as noise, air and water pollution.

There is also concern about its close proximity to Orica's existing  Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant, which has had several pollution incidents.

More than 350 submissions have been lodged on Incitec's proposal and many say the explosion risk is too great.

New South Wales Health says an emergency management plan for the proposed plant should carefully analyse the impact of all possible hazards, including sabotage and natural disasters.

Orica has questioned the project's noise, hazard and risk assessments.

But the Newcastle Port Corporation has backed the proposal, saying it facilitates the greater utilisation of port infrastructure.

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