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Understanding the Buncefield explosion

04 September 2007

The first open forum discussion by experts of a key report into the Buncefield oil storage depot incident, which led to one of Europe's biggest peacetime explosions, is to be held at Cardiff University (20 September).

On 11 December, 2005 a number of explosions occurred at the Buncefield oil storage depot in Hertfordshire, which devastated the site and surrounding buildings. More than 40 people were injured; amazingly there were no fatalities. The fire burned for several days, destroying most of the site and emitting large clouds of black smoke into the atmosphere.

As part of the post-Buncefield investigation, an ‘Explosion Mechanism Advisory Group’ was set up to advise the Buncefield ‘Major Incident Investigation Board’ on the work that would be required to explain the severity of the Buncefield explosion. The Group’s report was first published on 16 August.

The Cardiff School of Engineering is to host the 25th anniversary meeting of the UK Explosion Liaison Group (19 and 20 September), which will include the first open discussion session on the Buncefield Explosion Mechanism Advisory Group’s report, with a panel that includes experts and several of the Group’s members. The discussion will consider the implications of the report and its recommendations for industry and others.

Professor Phil Bowen, Cardiff School of Engineering said: "Following an overview of the Explosion Mechanism Advisory Group report, I am anticipating an open and lively discussion session in the company of several of the advisory group members. It is fitting that this first open discussion of the report should take place during 25th anniversary meeting of the UK Explosion Liaison Group."