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Pumps at Shanghai Gas Stations to Be Made Explosion-proof

Pumps at every gas station in this city will be outfitted with blast-prevention equipment, the municipal administration of work safety said yesterday.

The move comes in the wake of a fatal explosion at a gas station in the Pudong district in November.

Li Bing, the administration's spokesman, said seven gas stations in Luwan district will be the first to be equipped with the devices.

He said the pumps will be fitted with hypostasis anchorhold no-explosion (HAN) explosion-proof technology, which will reduce the risk of blasts by preventing both sparks and the transmission of electromagnetic waves from mobile phones, which some people believe can ignite gas fumes.

The new technology will allow for the safe storage and transport of gasoline, diesel oil, kerosene and liquid petroleum gases.

Since 2006, 18 gas stations in Shanghai have been equipped with the device, Li said.

Four people were killed and 40 others injured at a China National Petroleum Corp (PetroChina) station two months ago. The authorities blamed the incident on a lack of safety equipment.

Whatever the cause, gas station safety has been a key concern in Shanghai.

Seven filling stations were closed down immediately after the blast because of safety fears.

Ma Yupeng, an employee of the work safety administration's department of dangerous chemicals supervision, said Shanghai has been promoting anti-explosion equipment since 2006.

The call followed the central government's release of industrial standards for safety production in 2005.

"The principle is that gas stations that fail to meet the standards of safety production should be fitted with blast-prevention equipment. If they are not, they will be closed down," Ma said.

There are more than 1,000 gas stations in Shanghai, exceeding the number projected for 2010.

Gas stations began to spread across the country at a rapid pace in the 1990s, when economic development and the increasing number of vehicles on the road drove up petroleum consumption.

It has been reported that Sinopec and PetroChina have doubled their outlets across the country since 2000.

However, with the rapid spread of stations has come safety concerns.

Four people were injured in an explosion in Tianjin on Dec 7.

(China Daily January 18, 2008)

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