Kooragang plant sees another flare up

 Flames have again shot from the stacks of the Kooragang Island plant.

The flare up, the second in three days for the Orica plant, started at close to 9pm last night, according to the Newcastle Herald.

On Sunday, heavy storms above the plant saw lightning ignite hydrogen gas discharges above the explosives plant.

The hydrogen gas discharges, which were part of the normal start up procedures at Orica’s Kooragang plant, were struck at around 10pm last night, causing 20 metre high flames to shoot into the sky.

Despite resident concerns at the time, Orica stated that it was not an unheard of event during start up procedures.

"It can tend to happen when a plant is discharging hydrogen gas, which it wouldn’t normally be doing when it is up and running," the spokesperson said.

"It’s not common but it’s also not uncommon."

There were no electrical storms during the most recent incident, however static electricity has been pointed to as a possible culprit.

Orica spokesperson Nicole Ekert stated that emergency services were notified "as promptly as possible", and attended the site but were not required.

She went on to say that it was "a similar occurrence to the other night.

"We would like to stress that there is no risk to the community, no risk to the environment and no risk to the plant.

"There are a number of events that could have caused it and we will be investigating."

Orica’s explosives manufacturing plant has been in the process of restarting since it halted operations late last year following a number of accidental chemical releases.


Image:Newcastle Herald – Peter Scoop


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