Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the Hess 'Shannon LNG' project
Negative Effects on the Shannon Estuary
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Irish Law and Policy - What the politicans and Public Figures are Saying

M.E.P. Kathy Sinnott says that the Shannon LNG plant is "an accident waiting to happen"

€400m plant 'an accident waiting to happen'

Limerick Leader Published Date:
24 November 2007

AS D-DAY draws nearer on a planning decision for the proposed €400m Shannon Liquefied Natural Gas plant on the Shannon Estuary, MEP Kathy Sinnott has claimed it is an accident waiting to happen.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the company plans to ship into a new terminal yet to be built at the Shannon Development owned landbank just outside the Limerick border at Ballylongford, "is an incredibly explosive, condensed form of gas," she claimed this week.

"The gas is so flammable that even a small leak can do a great deal of damage and a serious accident or terrorist attack would result in a nuclear-sized explosion minus the radiation," she warned.

Planning permission for the terminal was fast-tracked under the new Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006, meaning it went straight to An Bord Pleanala and the seven-week public consultation process, during which people could make submissions and/ or objections ended last Friday. A decision is expected in March or April.

The company say that 350 people would be employed during construction and 50 permanent jobs would be provided at the site.

Ships carrying LNG are included in the list of terrorist targets in the US, she added. And she also claimed that in EU terms, a LNG terminal would be rated as a "Seveso 11 site", a designation which she warned would have negative repercussions for the surrounding area.

"Once a Seveso II project is given the go- ahead it can be very hard to get planning permission for any more houses or other industries as the designation tends to sterilise an area," she claimed. Seveso, she said, refers to an area 25 km north of Milan in Italy where an industrial accident resulted in major destruction and loss of life.

Ms Sinnott's claims have been strenuously rebutted by a spokesman for Shannon LNG who last year announced their plans to built a liquefied natural gas terminal on a 260-acre site in Ballylongford which would be linked by a 25-30kilometre pipeline into the national grid beyond Foynes.

"Shannon LNG has no doubts whatsoever about the safety of the proposed LNG import terminal," company spokesman Emmet Barrett said this Wednesday. "LNG importation technology is straightforward and has proven safe and reliable for over 40 years. There are over 50 import terminals operating worldwide, and to improve security and diversity of energy supply, a number of new import terminals are currently being built in Europe, the UK and North America."

Mr Barrett told the Limerick Leader that as part of the planning process, the company had carried out a "detailed quantitative risk assessment" which they submitted to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). "This assessment has demonstrated that all existing dwellings are outside any area of HSA.

- By Norma Prendiville