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Explosion would destroy everything within 250 yds

The first speaker to address the consultation was Charlestown resident, Mr Dave Aldridge who is a retired naval officer and an explosives expert.He explained that he first became interested in the Corrib gas project on hearing of the jailing of the five men from Rossport over the breaching of a High Court interlocutory injunction.He presented the Chairperson and Advantica experts with a printed submission consisting of a spreadsheet of figures and an accompanying document to interpret it. He explained that he had taken the dimensions of the gas pipeline as outlined in the QRA statement and calculated the volume of the gas that would be coming from the wellhead to the refinery. He then considered what would happen if the gas was released under the worst possible conditions which would be around the end of February when temperatures are approximately 5 degrees celsius. Mr Aldrige concluded from his calculations that the energy in the released gas would be nine times more powerful than TNT. It would be the equivalent of 3500 tonnes of TNT.Mr Aldridge then looked at the British HSE data with reference to these figures and determined that a release of gas at this level of energy would totally destroy anything within 250 yards and kill anything within a mile and do irreperable damage to anything within 1.6 miles of the pipeline.“On this basis I have calculated that the proposed pipeline is not safe,” he remarked.He explained that it had taken him a month to complete his calculations and analysis. He requested that Advantica take his submission into consideration.“Based on my discovery the pipeline should not go through a village,” he added.Mr Aldridge explained that he had also ascertained from the HSE site that the failure rate for a typical high pressure gas pipeline was once every 21 years.“That would be just within the life span of this project but if a failure occurred it would be so catastrophic. The pipeline should not be within a few miles of any habitation. Based on these calculations, I would not like to be living within ten miles of it,” he concluded.The Chairperson of the public consultation said he would ensure that Advantica were supplied with all of Mr Aldriges’ documents. He commended him on the time and effort he had put into his submission.Ms Gwyneth Macklin, a resident of Pullathomas was also concerned about the risk of a gas explosion. She told the Chairperson that she had witnesses the tragic gas explosion in Clarkston, Glasgow some 30 years ago.She said it made her shudder to think how the experts could “predict” the risks from the pipeline. It seemed to her that the whole valley would incinerate if the gas exploded.Ms Macklin had been working in a hairdressers in Clarkston at the time of the gas explosion there. She had smelled gas in the basement of the building where she worked but experts had assured her that it was safe. Five days later the gas exploded, destroying all of the shops in the vicinity, killing 20 people and injuring more that 50.She said she had no confidence in the people observing or checking out the risks associated with the pipeline. Ms Macklin was thankful of the genius of the very many local people who had worked hard to research the project.“I came to this place to breath fresh air, to eat clean food and to drink clean water. All of that is now under threat,” she remarked.She noted that the local landscape had been devastated in the last year and reminded the consultants that they could never predict what “Mother Nature” would do. The world has experienced landslides floods and earthquakes in the last year alone.“I think the Government should reclaim its authority and tell Shell to go and process its gas at sea … and to leave our valley alone. It is one of the few clean places left and it should be protected,” Ms Macklin concluded.Mr Padraig O’Coscara, Bellanaboy, inquired about the chances of evacuating local people from the area in the event of failure in the gas pipeline.
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Posted Date: 
21 August 2006 - 1:09am