Letter: Don’t overreact on ammonium nitrate

Reader letter from Rudolf Kegel, of Balberra

LAST week on my way back from Tassie, I dropped in to see a friend on his property west of Cunnamulla.

On Saturday morning, driving back home, on the road between Cunnamulla and Charleville, I was flagged down by a driver coming the other way.

He told me I couldn't get through because a truck had blown up and taken out a bridge.

>> Truck driver fights for life after explosion

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We all now know what had happened.

A truck carrying ammonium nitrate had overturned and a small amount of the load had come into contact with diesel fuel spilled from the tanks.

Ammonium nitrate on its own is totally harmless.

You could fire a bullet into it and it wouldn't say boo.

I have carted enough of the stuff over the years to know.

Mix it with diesel fuel and it becomes a different kettle of fish. It turns into a powerful explosive.

The Oklahoma bombing was carried out with one tonne of ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel.

As a result of this accident there are now calls for ammonium nitrate to be taken off the road.

This, of course, is a load of nonsense.

There is a case for reducing the chance of fuel coming into contact with spilled cargo by improving fuel tank design.

To take ammonium nitrate off road transport would be like abolishing air travel because of an air crash.
 



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