Ammonium nitrate: Innocuous fertiliser used as terror tool

Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2010 - 23:35

New Delhi: Despite the government making
efforts to control the use of ammonium nitrate, which is
commonly available as a fertiliser, it continues to be the
explosive material most preferred by terrorists in almost all
the blasts during the last five years.

The government had planned a strong controlling regime to
check misuse of ammonium nitrate, key component for
manufacturing deadly explosive, but it seems that the proposal
is yet to see the light of the day.

The terror attacks in Uttar Pradesh courts in November
2007 and subsequent bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Delhi and now in Pune point towards the metamorphosis of the chemical from innocuous fertiliser into a terror tool.

Ammonium nitrate is not a high-quality explosive like RDX
but intelligent use of shrapnel, packing and proper fuel mix
like diesel converts it into a low-cost high-impact explosive.

It produces oxygen at a very fast rate thereby creating
an explosion. The basic difference between RDX and ammonium nitrate is that the former can be used alone for causing blasts whereas the latter is to be laced with some fuel for causing the explosion, a senior explosive expert said.
A timer device, which could be a simple microchip, is
embedded in the entire package and can be programmed like a
digital clock creating a spark at scheduled time and
detonating the package.

-PTI



First Published: Monday, February 15, 2010 - 23:35

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