An unreleased Clark County Fire Department report cites more than a dozen violations in storing a volatile rocket fuel oxidizer at a Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. plant.
The report, obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, cites violations in the storage of ammonium perchlorate and imprudent handling of flammable, toxic chemicals and gases used in its production."It is this department's opinion that many of the chemicals, including ammonium perchlorate, stored and/or handled at the Kerr-McGee facility, are not being stored and/or handled in compliance with nationally recognized standards," said the report, quoted Friday by the newspaper.
Kerr-McGee spokeswoman Anita Bridges said the company had hired a fire safety consultant, Robert Van Dolah of Pittsburgh, after receiving the report Tuesday. Van Dolah arrived in Henderson Thursday night and met with fire officials Friday to address their concerns, Bridges said.
"The company is saying that if there are problems with safety at the plant, we're going to fix them," Bridges said Friday afternoon. "We're going to make sure that plant's operating safely."
A high-ranking fire department source told the newspaper the department will lobby against renewed production of ammonium perchlorate until Kerr-McGee reduces safety risks.
The Kerr-McGee plant in Henderson halted production of ammonium perchlorate May 12 following an explosion a week earlier at nearby Pacific Engineering and Production Co. Kerr-McGee and PEPCON were the only plants in the country producing the oxidizer used in the space shuttle and military rockets.
Meanwhile, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said "the handwriting is on the wall," and plants that produce hazardous materials may have to move out of the Henderson industrial complex.
Reid said consideration must be given to relocating such plants in the aftermath of the PEPCON explosion.
Reid made his comments in addressing 100 residents of the Green Valley subdivision Thursday night. Green Valley was one of the areas hardest hit by the explosion that killed two people, injured 326 and caused $73 million damage.