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Facility:
AZF (Azote de France) fertilizer factory
Location:
Toulouse, France
Date of accident:
21 September 2001
Type of accident:
  • Release of toxic/flammable materials
  • Explosion
  • Fire
Offshore/onshore accident:
Onshore
Number of fatalities:
29
Number of people injured:
2500

AZF (Azote de France) fertilizer factory, Toulouse, France, 21 September 2001

SUMMARY

The explosion occurred in a downgraded ammonium nitrates store, which was authorised for 500 tons and contained approximately 400 tons of product on the day of the explosion. The chemical was stored flat and separated by partitions. It is not known what caused the explosion.

The TNT equivalent mass of the explosion was estimated by INERIS to be in the range of 20 to 40 tons of TNT.

 

LESSONS

  • Redefinition of ammonium nitrate to cover lower percentage composition.
  • Necessary to improve quality of hazard studies and their homogeneity between different industrial sites. Studies should specify basic assumptions concerning accident scenarios, external threats and failure of safety systems.
  • Reduce the risks posed by hazardous installations via various measures such as double confinement and breaking up stock into smaller amounts.
  • Harmonisation of regulation requirements for transport of goods in areas such as ports and marshalling yards.
  • Defined new land use planning rules that deal with potential hazardous situations.
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