Lebanon's energy minister denies explosion risk at Zouk power plant

“It is important for the Energy Ministry to confirm that this information is incorrect,” a statement from the Energy Ministry said

  

BEIRUT - Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar Thursday denied allegations that the Zouk power plant near Jounieh was at risk of a greater explosion than the Beirut blast.

“It is important for the Energy Ministry to confirm that this information is incorrect,” a statement from the Energy Ministry said.

Following the massive explosion in Beirut that killed over 150 people and wounded thousands, MP Chamel Roukoz warned of the risk of a greater explosion at the Zouk power plant.

Speaking on the Voice of Lebanon Friday, MP Chamel Roukoz, an estranged relative to Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil, said that a large quantity of hydrogen was being stored close to gasoline tanks and could potentially ''cause an explosion greater than the one that took place in Beirut,'' he was quoted as saying.

Roukoz went on to say, ''I am not an expert on this subject, but I point this out to the Energy Ministry and the Lebanese government in order to avoid disaster.''

The Energy Ministry’s statement said that the old hydrogen system used since 1983 had been replaced and was now on par with international standards.

Regarding the ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut Port and the cause of Tuesday's monster blast, Roukoz noted that it was highly explosive, known to be used in making improvised bombs. ''Our data indicates that this material is more flammable than explosive, and explodes in cases of high temperatures or a lightning strike.'' He finished by alluding to a discrepancy, but affirmed that he would wait until after the investigation before commenting further.

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