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Fertilizer Expert - Chemical Storage Appears 'Highly Risky' at Texas Explosion Site

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Released: 4/19/2013 4:30 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University

Harold Van Es is a professor of Soil and Water Management and the former chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University. He is an expert on fertilizer production and use.

Van Es says:

“The anhydrous ammonia was not likely the source of the explosion. There now appears to have been ammonium nitrate at the plant, which is highly explosive – it was used in the Oklahoma City bombing. If this is correct, then the storage of such large quantity of explosive material near a residential area appears highly risky.”

Note: Van Es recently explained fertilizer to listeners of WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show.

. . . . .

Also available:

Simon Coulson is a visiting instructor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Cornell University. In addition to his academic career, Coulson works as an energy risk engineer for companies insuring oil refineries and petrochemical plants. He can speak toward the dangers of ammonia and other safety hazards in chemical plants.

Contact the Press Relations Office for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.

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