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Business

Shokubai Completes Damaged Site Revamp

by Jean-François Tremblay
July 21, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 29

Nippon Shokubai has opened an 80,000-metric-ton-per-year acrylic acid facility at its site in Himeji, Japan, where in September 2012 a firefighter died and 36 emergency responders were injured when a tank of acrylic acid exploded. The accident led to worries about shortages of acrylic-based superabsorbent polymer. Shokubai is the world’s largest producer of the polymer, and the Japanese government had ordered the indefinite closure of most of its facilities after the accident. Shokubai has since been authorized to restart most plants at the site, culminating with the inauguration of the acrylic acid plant. Separately, Shokubai will expand its capacity for acrylic resins used in lens materials at the Himeji site by 50% to 9,000 metric tons per year.

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