September 14th, 2018
A major explosion at Indaver’s flagship industrial waste treatment facility yesterday near Antwerp, Belgium left one dead and four injured.
The incident follows a similar non-fatal explosion in February 2016, which occurred at the same plant. The condition of those injured is reportedly unknown.
In a statement to local media, Indaver claimed that the incident did not impose any threat to the environment or human health.
The Belgian waste management group said discharge of liquid waste into a storage tank was most likely to blame for the incident. Further investigations are being carried out to determine the exact cause, it said.
The previous explosion, albeit non-fatal, resulted in black clouds of smoke emerging from inside the facility.
The company’s Irish branch is currently battling with locals in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork over plans for a €160 million waste-to-energy plant in Cork Harbour.
The proposed incinerator will reportedly turn 240,000 tonnes of rubbish into 25 megawatts of electricity each year.
Earlier in May, the planning authority gave the green light to Indaver Ireland to build the waste-to-energy plant despite recommendations of its own inspector that permission should not be granted.
Indaver has been campaigning to build the multi-million euro waste-to-energy plant since 2001. This was the company’s third application to the board.
The Board’s decision followed a public outcry with politicians including the Tánaiste Simon Coveney. Mr Coveney said that he was “frustrated” and “disappointed” with the decision.
Questions to answer
The citizen group Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) will bring a judicial review challenge of An Bard Pleanála’s decision to the High Court in February 2019.
The group expressed its concern about the recent explosion calling on Indaver for transparency regarding the safety of their plants.
“Indaver has some serious questions to answer. The company has assured us that this couldn’t happen in Cork Harbour, but this second major explosion within the lifespan of their third application here makes it hard to take any assurance seriously,” a group statement reads.
Indaver has said that due to differences between the facilities and the type of waste being treated, incidents similar to the explosion in Belgium could not arise at the Ringaskiddy plant.