Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Railcar w/ 30 Tons of Explosive Chemicals Goes Missing in California

'The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the railcar may have developed in transit ... '

(Corine GattiHeadline USA) The disappearance of 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate in April has left authorities puzzled and alarmed, prompting multiple investigations into the incident. The chemical, which can be used as fertilizer or in explosives, was shipped by rail from Wyoming to California by the firm Dyno Nobel, and the cargo was lost en route.

The railcar loaded with the 30 tons of chemical left Cheyenne on April 12 and was empty when it arrived two weeks later at a rail stop in the Mojave Desert, California, KQED reported. Dyno Nobel suspected that the chemical fell from the covered hopper car during transit due to a leak through the bottom gate during one of its multiple stops.

According to Dyno Nobel’s press statement, the material, transported in pellet form, was being transported in a covered hopper car similar to those used to ship coal when it fell out of the car en route to Saltdale, approximately 30 miles from the town of Mojave.

The vanishing of the explosive and potentially catastrophically-dangerous cargo comes as incidents of unexplained train derailments, warehouse explosions, massive industrial fires and attacks on public infrastructure have increased at alarming rates across the country.

“The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the railcar may have developed in transit,” the company said through a spokesperson. The company made a report on May 10 to the federal National Response Center and stated that the hopper car had been lost during a two-week trip. 

A representative from the Federal Railroad Administration said that their investigation also pointed to one of the hopper car gates not being properly closed.

Dyno Nobel claimed they had “limited control” over the railcar as Union Pacific moved it through the country. The company has said that the railcar is being transported back to Wyoming for inspection.

Ammonium nitrate is a potent explosive, capable of wreaking death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. The Oklahoma City bombing was one such example – a homemade bomb containing ammonium nitrate that had been constructed and detonated with devastating consequences.

Congress passed a law on securing the handling of ammonium nitrate in 2007, authorizing Homeland Security “to regulate the sale of ammonium nitrate to prevent and deter the acquisition of ammonium nitrate by terrorists, and for other purposes.”

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