Volume 89 Issue 32 | p. 30 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 8, 2011

U.S. To Regulate Ammonium Nitrate

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: ammonium nitrate, antiterrorism, DHS
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A terrorist-made NH4NO3 bomb killed 168 people and destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Credit: Staff Sergeant Preston Chasteen
The bombed remains of automobiles with the bombed Federal Building in the background. The military is providing around the clock support since a car bomb exploded inside the building on Wednesday, April 19, 1995.
 
A terrorist-made NH4NO3 bomb killed 168 people and destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Credit: Staff Sergeant Preston Chasteen

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate in an effort to keep the potentially dangerous chemical out of the hands of terrorists and others with criminal intent. “In today’s ever-evolving threat environment, we must continually reinforce the security of substances, such as ammonium nitrate, which can be used for legitimate purposes or exploited by terrorists,” says DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Ammonium nitrate is primarily used in fertilizers and in commercial explosives for construction and mining. But it has also been used as a main component in powerful explosives for attacks, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the London bombings, and other acts of terrorism around the world. The new rule will require U.S. purchasers of NH4NO3 to prove they have a “legitimate use” for it. Those selling the chemical will also be required to retain records and report the theft or loss of the chemical to federal authorities within 24 hours of discovery. The proposal comes nearly four years after Congress gave DHS the authority to develop a program to regulate the compound.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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