Case Name, Disaster of Chemical Plant at Flixborough. Pictograph. Date, June 1, Place, Flixborough, UK. Location, Cyclohexanone oxidation plant. Flixborough. disaster. vapour cloud explosion. cyclohexane. loss prevention. risk assessment J.G. BallAfter the Flixborough Report: do we know the real truth?. 1 June is the 40th anniversary of the Flixborough disaster, The Flixborough Plant before the explosion – official report, TS 84/37/1.

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Friday 30 May Mark Dizaster Records and research 8 comments. It was the biggest explosion to ever occur in Britain during peacetimeuntil the fire at the Hertfordshire oil storage terminal Buncefield in December At Flixborough, 28 workers were killed and 36 others onsite suffered injuries. Outside the works, injuries and damage flixbrough on a widespread scale but there were no fatalities. It was recognised that the number of casualties would have been even higher had the incident occurred on a weekday.

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The explosion was estimated to be equivalent to 16 tonnes of TNT and the subsequent reporh raged for ten days. A considerable amount of property was destroyed in Flixborough and the surrounding villages, and the explosion was heard over 30 miles away in Grimsby. The Atomic Weapons and Research Establishment at Aldermaston produced a report on the infrasonic and seismic waves which resulted.

The plant, owned by Nypro UK, produced caprolactum, a chemical used in the manufacture of nylon.

Some two months before the disaster, a crack was found in one of the reactors. A pipe was installed to bypass the leaking reactor so that rwport plant could continue production. During the late afternoon on 1 June the temporary bypass pipe ruptured, and a huge quantity of cyclohexane leaked from the pipe, forming a vapour cloud which then found a source of ignition. The massive explosion destroyed the plant. Eighteen fatalities occurred in the Control Room as disaaster result of the windows shattering and the roof collapsing.

Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June 1974

Following the disaster there was a huge public debate about the safety of industrial plants and regulations regarding industrial processes were made considerably more rigorous — the newly formed Heath and Safety Commission took a close interest in these developments.


New theories about the causes of the disaster have been advanced sincenotably by engineer Ralph King and Dr John Cox. Ralph King suggested that a reaction between water which had settled in one of the reactors and the hot cyclohexane above it caused a massive rise in pressure that blew apart the piping.

The causes of the disaster were complex it is impossible to disastee justice to all the technical explanations here and the debate continues. The National Archives holds a great deal of documentation about the disaster and its aftermath, including numerous plans, drawings, photographs and witness statements as well as the Report of the Court of Inquiry. The blast was such that it threw me full length across the road.

Many of those Royal Air Force personal at the dance went to help and the local diaster that were there returned to their posts at Lincoln Hospital to help deal with the emergency. My grandfather in Grimsby heard the explosion and thought it was very strange thunder. My other grandfather in Scunthorpe said it blew foixborough front door open. I was flixborohgh young child at the time and remember the veil of tragedy that fell over that part of Lincolnshire.

One of the teachers at my school lost a relative flkxborough the explosion. I remember that day very well,I was breaking a young pony at Barrow Haven near the bank of the Humber, a very loud explosion followed by a plume of smoke. There was a lot of discussion after as the chemical past though the local villages flixborouhh tankers. We were between editions and cleared as much space as we could to cover it. We hired an aircraft from Biggin Hill for aerial photos and hit the phones. Fortunately, I had a technical report about Flixborough in a personal file I kept in the event of such crises.

It contained graphic information about the plant which gave us an invaluable insight into its construction. It was so informative, we had an argument about flixboroigh to focus on the disaster itself or the possible causes of it.


I won that skirmish with a more senior editor, a rare event, and look back on that tragic night satisfied that we did everything we could to beat the clock and the opposition. Flixborough brings back memories of when I was Chartering Manager at British Steel Corporation and, until the new iron ore berth was completed at Immingham, in the early disasteg we were forced to tranship iron ore at Rotterdam and bring it to Flixborough to feed the steel works at Scunthorpe.

We had a contract with a Hamburg firm and, if my aged memory serves me correctly, we were bringing in 30, tonnes a week in small coasters.

Case Details > Disaster of Chemical Plant at Flixborough

We used to have one ship alongside and one or two waiting in the Humber to come up the Trent on the tide. Flixborough did us proud — a remarkable little port. The Flixborough Disaster includes links to the official report on the tragedy, which you can also find […].

I was a serving police constable in Humberside Police and at the time of the incident I was shopping in Baxtergate Doncaster with my family when we heard the explosion.

On returning home to Goole I was called in for duty and with other officers carried out anti looting patrols through the night. Flixborough, 1 June Tags accidentsexplosionindustry.

Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June

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