HazMat Management

READER RESPONSE: Dangers of transporting ammonium nitrate

Dear Editor,

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February 27, 2014 by Hazmat Management

Dear Editor,

Having read your article, “In Harm’s Way”, I was shocked this week to learn that a truckload of ammonium nitrate was involved in a fiery highway accident, several miles from my office.

Re: Alberta Police Report of an ammonium nitrate spill along highway 2, February 14, 2014. 

What risks are posed by the transportation of ammonium nitrate along public highways, and was there a chance that this product might have exploded during the fire? I am confident that your readership includes chemists and chemical engineers; they might have the answer. So might Natural Resources Canada, which regulates the product. 

Shipments of ammonium nitrate are common in northern Alberta and they are typically destined for diamond and gold mining projects in the Northwest Territories, where it is used as an explosive. But given there is a risk to northern communities by virtue of these so called “fertilizer shipments”, should we be taking a better look at how this product is shipped?

Thank you,

Michael Brown P.Eng. P.Bio
Chemical Engineer and Biologist
Peace River, Alberta

Posted to HazMatmag.com, February 22, 2014