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Sandia Labs Researcher Develops Fertilizer Without the Explosive Potential 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-boom-for-you dept.
cylonlover writes "Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer, but when mixed with a fuel such as diesel, it makes a powerful explosive – as seen in last week's fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern. This is why Kevin Fleming, an optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, developed a fertilizer alternative that isn't detonable and therefore can't be used in a bomb."
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Sandia Labs Researcher Develops Fertilizer Without the Explosive Potential

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  • Useless .... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pollarda (632730) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @11:54AM (#43574343)
    There are way too many things you can fashion into explosives. For example, chicken manure has enough nitrates in it you can use it as a replacement for ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate / Fuel Oil.) Knowing our government however, they would use this as an excuse to genetically engineer chickens with lower nitrate poop then try to ban all other varieties.
    • Re:Useless .... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nadaka (224565) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @11:59AM (#43574379)

      This stuff would prevent accidental explosions. Its hardly useless if this stuff is similarly effective and inexpensive as a fertilizer.

      • Re: Useless .... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pollarda (632730) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:16PM (#43574481)
        True. But as it says, this fertilizer was primarily developed to prevent fertilizer from being used in IEDs. To this it is at least a partial failure as there are way too many household chemicals that can be turned into explosives or highly dangerous chemicals. (Bleach and ammonia make hydrazine for example. Ammonium nitrate is found in instant cold packs that can be purchased in any drug store.)
        • Re: Useless .... (Score:5, Informative)

          by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:40PM (#43574655)
          Intelligence analyst from JIEDDO here. True there are other household chemicals that can be used in IEDs. But Ammonium Nitrate is produced in such mass quantities that it provides a ready source of IED material. There are caches found with 20,000 lbs plus of AN, and it's produced just over the border in Pakistan by several fertilizer companies. If the fertilizer companies were to switch to something else, it would put a damper on the sheer size of the IED problem. Yes, over time they could switch, and we'll follow suit and limit the availability of that chemical next. But we're not going to throw our hands up and do nothing because there are "way too many household chemicals."
          • Re: Useless .... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday April 28, 2013 @01:38PM (#43574977) Journal

            Unless you are gonna stick a gun to their head and force them to switch why should they? Knowing this stuff will end up being more expensive so you expect them to waste millions, possibly billions, because some of their product is used to blow up soldiers of a country the majority there isn't fond of anyway? Not bloody likely.

            So the only way you'll get them to switch is bribe them or bomb them, otherwise they have absolutely zero reason to care. Fertilizer is a billion dollar business and even raising the cost a dime could shift who gets these huge contracts so unless you believe the American taxpayer should yet again foot the bill so that it costs them nothing or is more profitable to use the new stuff i just don't see most of the third world switching. After all all it will do for them is raise costs, IEDs aren't really that high on the radar from their point of view.

            • Re: Useless .... (Score:5, Informative)

              by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @01:44PM (#43575005)
              Thanks for demonstrating you know nothing whatsoever about the problem. We have in fact asked the major suppliers of AN to adjust their practices to minimize how much AN is stolen or siphoned off for IEDs, and they've been very sooperative. They don't like having their name connected with terrorism on the international news every day. And the price of AN has gone from about $4.00 per 40lbs bag early in the war to over $100 per bag recently due to various efforts to curtail its use in IEDs. But thanks for playing.
              • Re the cost increase on AN - does that mean legitimate use as fertalizer went up 25x for farmers?
              • But it sounds more than a little like the 'war on drugs'. Yes, there have been attempts at weaning Afghanistan farmers away from the lucrative poppy crop. Might have even put a bit of a damper on heroin production. But addicts got to get their fix, haters got to hate. I don't see it as materially improving the IED situation.

                It might be able to prevent another Texas fertilizer plant explosion - that in itself is a worthy goal, but changing the dynamics of the Middle East, not so much.

              • Thanks for demonstrating you know nothing whatsoever about the problem.

                The "Problem" is that "making something that is explosive" can be done whether the US likes it or not, and with materials that everyone has access to.

                I dont know what the solution is, but its certainly not to go after anything that contains nitrogen in the hopes that you'll win that arms race.

                • Re: Useless .... (Score:4, Informative)

                  by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @04:10PM (#43575833)
                  We can try to limit the size and scale of the IED problem. Our vehicles are getting hit with 700lbs+ IEDs. That's not something you whip up with stuff sitting around the basement. There's a huge supply chain of materials streaming into Afghanistan, and we're trying to limit their ability to employ IEDs not only against us but against local nationals, Afghan police, and Afghan military.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Anonymous Coward

                    You'll have to limit the amount of salt available to people then. Ordinary NaCl can be converted into NaCl3 easily. As can KCl be converted into KClO3. A very crude electrochemical cell can make the chlorates quite easily, without requiring any exotic materials, or leaving much of a "telltale footprint".

                    And a kg of KClO3/NaClO3 + fuel is going to produce a significantly nastier boom than a kg of blackpowder, as used in the Boston bombs.

                    At the end of the day a "war on precursors" has to go so far up the ch

              • Re: Useless .... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by nametaken (610866) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @04:03PM (#43575785)

                Curious. Doesn't the price per bag for fertilizer going from $4 to $100 make it prohibitively expensive for it's normal use as fertilizer?

                Was there a considerable reduction in the number of IED's since the price skyrocketed?

                • by oodaloop (1229816)
                  AN is illegal in Afghanistan. Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) is legal and plentiful. Yes, there was a decrease. There were also many other measures taken to reduce the effectiveness of IEDs, like better armored vehicles, better detection capabilities, et al.
                  • by nametaken (610866)

                    I see, so that was a change in price for illicit goods, and the safer alternative in Afghanistan is a good replacement? I don't know much about farming, but it sounds like an "everyone wins" scenario, to me. Well... everyone but the bad guys.

                    • by oodaloop (1229816)
                      That's the idea. Calcium Ammonium Nitrate is a cheap decent alternative fertilizer, though it can still be used in IEDs, albeit with a whole lot more work involved. If they could both be replaced by a decent cheap fertilizer that has even less (or no) capability to be used in explosives, that would be even better.
              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                And thanks for showing you live in Washington where a billion here and a billion there? really not worth worrying about. while i'm sure they wouldn't like being associated with terrorists guess what? THEY AREN'T, oh maybe in some circles in the belt but NOBODY in the free world automatically thinks IEDs when they think fertilizer, they think...well they think "crap" but that's another story.

                Again when you are talking about selling boatloads? A 10c per pound raise can mean the difference to whether you get t

                • Re: Useless .... (Score:4, Informative)

                  by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @04:31PM (#43575995)
                  Newsflash, AN is illegal in Afghanistan in any shape or form, for fertilizer, explosive, or otherwise. So the fertilizer firms have quite a bit of incentive to make a kind of fertilizer that can't be used in explosives (something they're actively doing if you haven't been paying attention, despite your claims that it doesn't make sense to do so), so they can legally do business in Afghanistan, price be damned. I'm not referring to the whole rest of the world where IEDs aren't a problem.
              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by ThePeices (635180)

                As this is Slashdot, due to your misspelling of the word 'cooperative', all points that you have raised, and all factual information given, is now incorrect. Your argument has been officially dismantled.

                Welcome to Slashdot. Thanks for playing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              TFA says that you just need to mix the AN with a byproduct from steel manifacturing. That doesn't sound like it would make the stuff more expensive. In fact, I would say that since it would remove the need for all kind of administrative crap like background check, it could actually make fertilizer cheaper. Finally, the article says that it should actually be a better fertilizer in Afghan soil.

          • OR... and I know this may be hard for a US "intelligence" analyst to grasp... but if our troops weren't in Afghanistan, it really wouldn't matter what kinds of fertilizers they make in Pakistan.

            Then there's the whole idea that we're going to raise the price of food (if fertilizer costs more, food costs more) because of what? 2 IEDs in the entire history of the US? And less than 10 accidents? Total killed under a few hundred? How many people will die due to hunger because of the higher price of food? How man

            • by smash (1351)
              You're not taking into account the increased profit for fertilizer manufacturers. Starvation, death, etc. are all of secondary concern to the big $.
            • by oodaloop (1229816)

              OR... and I know this may be hard for a US "intelligence" analyst to grasp... but if our troops weren't in Afghanistan, it really wouldn't matter what kinds of fertilizers they make in Pakistan.

              Not really my call, is it? I don't think we should still be there at all, but we are and my job is to track down people who are using IEDs.

              Then there's the whole idea that we're going to raise the price of food (if fertilizer costs more, food costs more) because of what? 2 IEDs in the entire history of the US? And less than 10 accidents?

              Ammonium Nitrate is illegal in Afghanistan, the only place I've been talking about. It's free and cheap in the U.S. where there are "only" a few hundred IED events a year. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, thousands a year and many of them are huge, and quite deadly. The steps taken in Afghanistan to reduce the number and lethality of IEDs is not security theater; it's been

          • The problem is not access to components used to make explosives & IEDs, the problem is hatred based on ignorance, fear, and Western meddling in these hellholes and wastelands... same as it ever was. Take away every conceivable object that can be used as a weapon, and they'll use rocks. Then you can call them IRTDs (Improvised Rock Throwing Devices) and ban all manner of rock and stone. That'll learn 'em!

            Analyze THAT.
            • by oodaloop (1229816)
              Yeah thanks Capt Obvious. I'm quite familiar with the psychology of terrorism, probably far more familiar with it than you are since, you know, it's my JOB and everything. But the discussion was about fertilizer and IEDs, not every goddamn factor involved in terrorism. This is a war that is being waged on multiple fronts in multiple ways at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. There are efforts in diplomacy and information operations regarding your concerns. I don't agree with everything our go
          • by TheCarp (96830)

            > Yes, over time they could switch, and we'll follow suit and limit the
            > availability of that chemical next.

            which is the point isn't it, as long as you keep duping people into thinking you are solving a problem, you will always have a job. Thats the real point here. Its not going to save any lives at all, its just ensuring jobs for consultants.

            Kind of reminds me of what the guy making thise fake bomb detectors was said to have commented when asked about the fact that they don't work "they do exactly w

            • by oodaloop (1229816)
              Actually, this is one small part of what we do in JIEDDO. My part is more Attack the Network (AtN). I go after the people involved in building and emplacing IEDs. Ohers are invovled in Counter Threat Finance (CTF), tracing and stopping the money. Still others are involved in going after the criminal networks helping to facilitate materials, and so on. This is a multifaceted front; I was just talking about one component and one method of mitigation.

              We have in fact saved many lives and thwarted many attacks.
              • by TheCarp (96830)

                I didn't thank you, I said your wasting my money; and I meant it. On every front you are playing whack-a-mole and having every bit as much effect on the mole population. None of this addresses the causes of the problem, which the people actually calling the shots seem to be actively working to make worst. Sorry I am not willing to take your contribution completely out of context.

                • by oodaloop (1229816)
                  Yes, because I'm in charge of the entire U.S. budget. I'm so sorry for not consulting with you beforehand before I started running the nation. Go complain to someone else with your opinions. I'm not interested in hearing them.
                  • by TheCarp (96830)

                    I don't hold your responsible at all for the overall budget, but thats entirely besides the point, you still chose to work for warmongers who have been instrumental in the radicalization of extremeists around the world.

                    Whose actions were the Marathon bombers upset about? Certainly wasn't US civilians. Certainly wasn't about domestic policy. It was the direct result of the actions of your employers.

                    But you are right, I should take my complaints directly to my congresscritters. Afterall, they are the ones who

                    • by oodaloop (1229816)

                      you still chose to work for warmongers who have been instrumental in the radicalization of extremeists around the world.

                      Well, excuse me for seeing things differently. Or are you not aware that your opinions are just opinions and not everyone sees things the way you do?

          • Prevent use in "Acts of Terror" which wtf? That even being an accepted valid phrase is an act of blistering stupidity.
            • by oodaloop (1229816)

              Prevent use in "Acts of Terror" which wtf?

              WTF yourself. Were you trying to quote me? Because I didn't use that phrase in that post.

              That even being an accepted valid phrase is an act of blistering stupidity.

              Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about a post I just read. If you'd like to form whole sentences containing rational thought on the current topic, I'd be happy to reply.

              • The summary says it's to prevent use in "Acts of Terror", and then starts babbling about IEDs. It's like the whole world is too stupid to understand the difference between terrorism and NGAs. Terrorists do shit to scare people into giving them things; these people are NGAs, doing shit and then gloating to rally morale for their cause. It's a plain old act of war, just without a government to blame.
                • by oodaloop (1229816)
                  OKC 95, the example used in TFS, was an act of terror, and it used ANFO in a VBIED. That's not stupid; it's accurate. Today's IED threat in Afghanistan is more symptomatic of an insurgency, which is the term we usually use rather than terrorism. Not sure what NGA is (NonGovernmental Army?), but it's not a term we use in the intelligence community.
                  • Depends on where you are. Some parts of the world like to use "Republican Army" a lot (Ireland has like 6 xRA insurgencies), I'm being silly because I don't like the term in America due to there being an actual Republican party and a lot of retarded people who will draw a connection and start being assholes.

                    OKC was terrorism. The summary went babbling on about modern paramilitary threats, which are not terrorism. But we call everything terrorism. Show up with a gun at a restaurant? You're a terrorist,

        • Re: Useless .... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday April 28, 2013 @01:22PM (#43574905)

          there are way too many household chemicals that can be turned into explosives or highly dangerous chemicals. (Bleach and ammonia make hydrazine for example.

          The difference is that few people have a reason to buy a ton of both bleach and ammonia, so it would raise suspicions. Anybody who farms has a reason to buy a ton of ammonium nitrate. Your hydrazine example has other problems: hydrazine is very toxic, flammable, and dangerously unstable. Ammonium nitrate is far easier to handle. That is why it is actually used in IEDs, whereas hydrazine is not.

          Non-explosive fertilizer will not prevent 100% of IEDs, but it will help. It will also help prevent explosions like the one in Texas.

          • The difference is that few people have a reason to buy a ton of both bleach and ammonia, so it would raise suspicions.

            Uhu. So how much bleach and ammonia do you need to make a bomb?

            • Uhu. So how much bleach and ammonia do you need to make a bomb?

              RTFM [amazon.com]

            • Uhu. So how much bleach and ammonia do you need to make a bomb?

              Quite a bit. Hydrazine is not a high explosive. It is not even a low explosive. It is a propellant. A high explosive can be used to shatter things. A propellant can be used to push things over. So you cannot use it in a small bomb to send shrapnel through armored vehicles. But you can use it in a truck bomb to knock down a building. You also need to factor in that the gunk you make at home from bleach and ammonia is not going to be very pure. If you want a small bomb, you are probably better off ju

          • by smash (1351)
            Because it is inconceivable that 2 different people in 2 lines of work might buy fertilizer and bleach and co-operate. Like say, a cleaning company and a farmer...
      • by HiThere (15173)

        Yeah? So it's cheap to manufacture and there won't be any excessive patent fees?

        Sorry, this sounds either useless or an attempt to create a brand new exploitive monopoly. Can't tell which from here, but I'd be extremely surprised if it were as cheap to make as ammonium nitrate.

      • IIRC last week's explosion was purely due to the pressure and temperature at which the ammonia was being stored.

        They hadnt crafted the nitrogen into an explosive, its just when you have a gigantic tank of gas stored at 250psi @ room temperature, and it gets heated up by a fire, it tends to rupture with explosive force. Article says that this new stuff uses ammonium sulfate, which makes the flunky chemist in me think that theyd still need to store high-pressure ammonia, and could experience the exact same "

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        I, for one, am curious how the West, Texas fertilizer plant exploded.

        There are rules and regulations for the storage of diesel fuel. Likewise for fertilizer. They don't get stored in close proximity. How did they combine in a sufficiently high ratio to create an explosion of the magnitude seen without some additional catalyst? That was a huuuuuge explosion!

      • Non-explosive fertilizer cast as useless? I beg to differ. But to make it have a better sounding headline, try this one:

        Sandia Labs develops organic compost pile for only $720,000 per pound.

        There! Now you can see how commercial opportunities abound and will help our economy, especially if Haliburton gets a contract to provide automatic compost bins to military mess halls everywhere. (And yes, I expect my thinly veiled reference to Haliburton to push my moderation up to +5)

    • by smash (1351)
      Yeah, pretty much that. I mean, a primary explosive component you could use would be say... gasoline? Chlorine + brake fluid? LPG?
  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:03PM (#43574405)
    I call bullshit! (Literally. Unless you want to be really nasty, that is.)
  • Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by puddingebola (2036796) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:20PM (#43574513) Journal
    1. Ammonium nitrate can be synthesized with Nitric acid and Ammonia. Are these that hard to come by in Afghanistan or Pakistan? 2. Purification would probably just require you finding something that is soluble with Ammonium Nitrate and not Iron Sulfate, or vice versa. Maybe that would be harder than I'm thinking it would be. Maybe some other method would be possible (magnetic?). 3. Any long term environmental consequences to building up Iron compounds in soils over generations of use? Is there an ecologist or an agronomist in the house?
  • Acidifies soils (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:21PM (#43574531) Homepage Journal

    According to the article it acidifies soils which the author finds good for areas with alkaline soils. And he says that some areas of Afghanistan have alkaline soils. Fine, but unless Afghanistan is unlike the rest of the world, some areas will have alkaline soils and some have acidic soils. I happen to have acidic soils on my farm and would never use a fertilizer that would further decrease the pH. We have plenty of iron in the soils here already too.

    The cost increase may be low, but they cannot argue that with the added materials and logistics, the cost will be the same in places that already have ammonium nitrate fertilizers in use. Perhaps where their crony governments force farmers to buy calcium carbonate fertilizer it would be cost neutral.

    But until hunger is eliminated in the world and all the world has healthy food to eat, governments have no business increasing the cost of food. Far more than 180 have died due to malnutrition since the Murrah building. Governments could trying sticking to courts, police and defense if they want to minimize the incidence of terrorism. And maybe help out with world hunger if they just can't stand sitting on their hands.

    • Re:Acidifies soils (Score:5, Informative)

      by xquercus (801916) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @01:07PM (#43574815)
      Yes, the soil acidification would be a downside. Alternatives to ammonium nitrate already exist, but they all have downsides. Ammonium sulphate is one example. One downside of ammonium sulphate is that it's inappropriate to use on crops which don't tolerate acid soil -- the same downside as the formula referenced in the article. We aren't all growing acid loving rhododendrons. Urea is another common alternative. It's an organic fertilizer which requires microbial action (in situ) before becoming bio-available. It's slow release which can be desirable for some management techniques but often farmers fertilize just weeks before planting. Quick release ammonium nitrate is generally preferable in that situation. Finally anhydrous ammonia is available. While not practical for the homeowner and subject to significant regulation due to its high potential for diversion for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine, it's hardly ideal. Ammonium nitrate really is the silver bullet when it comes to quick release and cheap nitrogen for agricultural use. It would be great if farmers were concerned about the long term quality of their soils and we adopted farming techniques which reflected this. Unfortunately, this isn't the way it works, and for a farmer who needs nitrogen NOW for THIS YEAR'S crop, ammonium nitrate is an excellent solution.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rene S. Hollan (1943)

        Feric sulphate has an additional advantage: it stops the "Shake and Bake" production of meth cold by converting the lithium used to Lithium Amide: LiN2. It's been suggested as an instant cold pack additive for that reason.

        "Shake and Bake" meth production involves generating ammonia in-situ with the reaction of NaOH (drain cleaner) with NH4NO3 (instant cold packs). This dissolves in some organic solvent, like methyl ethyl ketone, in which one has already dissolved pseudo-ephedrine. The presence of lithium (f

  • by guevera (2796207) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @12:31PM (#43574587)
    Why would I buy this stuff?
    Right now you can buy Amonium Nitrate that gives you a ton of readily available nitrogen for your crops at a relatively small cost.
    And, in case I need it, I can build a bomb with the stuff, too.
    I don't often need to build an IED, but whether it's a stump in your field or a neighbor messing with you or the damn federals raiding your moonshine still, sometimes you need to blow something up. With amonium nitrate, I don't have to buy and store expensive and potentially dangerous explosives just on the off chance I need to blow something sky high.
    But this new no-go-boom-fertilizer just takes away the features I'm used to getting for free with my fertilizer. It's like DRM for ag chemicals.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      As someone who leveled hills with AN explosives as a child (to increase grazable land, of course), I heartily agree with this sentiment.

      Sorry, decreasing the availability of AN will only do one significant thing: it will make farming and ranching (by proxy) more expensive and even less "profitable". For ag, there is no significant incentive to switching, particularly since it is likely to cost more (you'll need amendments to counteract the acidity) and/or it will have limited applicability (increasing soil

    • by smash (1351)
      ANFO is also extensively used in the mining industry. If they get rid of it they will need to come up with an equivalent cheap explosive or deal with the price increase in everything that comes out of holes in the ground.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @01:17PM (#43574885) Homepage

    But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern.

    Why? If the number of people dying from industrial accidents is greater than the number dying from terrorism, shouldn't we be focusing on the greater threat to human life? Particularly given that the explosion in Texas looks like it was caused, at least in part, by lax regulatory compliance.

    The only reason I can see for terrorism being worse is that it terrifies us. But the rational solution for that is, colloquially, to grow a pair. Stop saying things like "terrorism is a greater cause for concern" when it is not. Be rational, and help the public to be rational -- stop adding to the emotionalistic, irrational fear of terrorism.

    The reason-for-being of terrorism is asymmetric warfare. That only works if a society offers the asymmetric, panicky response that terrorism is meant to induce. Stop contributing to that by claiming that a statistically smaller threat is a greater concern.

  • Iron (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChrisMaple (607946) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @02:03PM (#43575123)
    Although iron is typically deficient in soils and adding iron promotes growth, is the amount required to make a high nitrate fertilizer difficult to explode going to poison the soil over a period of several years? Will it make the iron content of foods too high? I don't know. Is there some agricultural expert here that can illuminate the subject?
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      AN doesn't explode all that readily. That's why it gets mixed with diesel.

      If you've ever been to a small time farm or ranch, you'd see how the conditions there might be conductive to an "accidential explosion". You'd hear of farmers getting blowed up all the damn time while out having a smoke in the barn. It's easier to make diesel light on its own, or make gasoline 'explode' like in the movies. Sorry, but no: it doesn't explode all too easily on its own. Since West didn't have diesel in the explosion, one

  • ...that the fertilizer in Texas was mixed with diesel fuel.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      No, it was a spontaneous act of God...

      I'm personally terribly interested in hearing the AAR on the West, TX explosion... I've seen no likely explanation for why AN would explode so catastrophically on its own, yet.

      • by Bartles (1198017)
        It actually happens more frequently than you expect. Any time you have a large amount of oxidizer burning, it has the potential to accelerate vigorously. See the Texas City disaster of 1947.
  • Looking at this page [chemos.co.uk] I see that you could dissolve NH4NO3/FeSO4 mixture and add lead(II) citrate, which should cause the Fe to precipitate as citrate and the SO4 to precipitate with the lead, leaving NH4NO3 solution behind which can be dried and used in a bomb.

    Practical problems abound - most notably, can you get lead citrate, and can you find a way to reuse it? However, I have only high school chemistry and it is unlikely that I found the optimal 'cleaning' reaction in a few minutes of web searching. Can

  • Invest in any additional research that may be needed
    to [further] prove the safety & efficacy of Thorium-based
    reactors (a.k.a. "Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors"
    or LFTRs), per Kirk Sorensen's 10-min TED-talk.

    They seem to be safer than the high-pressure reactors
    we use today... and they don't need or produce Plutonium.

    We'll also need changes to nuclear reactor regulations,
    to make it easier to build lots of small ones, closer to
    where the energy (heat &/or electricity) is needed.

  • The NRA will move from guns to demanding they don't switch to this new fertilizer.
    • I'll just bet CNN will lump AN with the arbitrary term "Assault Weapons", along with most other non exploding fertilizers, and push for reintroducing the AW Ban.
      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        I'll just bet CNN will lump AN with the arbitrary term "Assault Weapons", along with most other non exploding fertilizers, and push for reintroducing the AW Ban.

        we're so messed up!

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