A fatal explosion at a fertiliser plant in Texas yesterday has incited fear in Newcastle residents who are afraid a similar explosion could occur at Orica.

While it is reported that the explosion in Texas was the result of 300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, Orica’s plant at Koorangang Island stores up to 10,000 tonnes of the chemical at any one time.

Crawford’s Freightlines is seeking approval to store up to 13,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate just 300 metres from Sandgate homes.

Stockton Community Action Group spokesperson and chemical engineer, Keith Craig, says its time the governmnet put community safety ahead of mining royalties.

“West is a clear example of what can happen”.

“These plants can be there for many years, but it just takes one event like this, one accident, to have a catastrophic outcome, ” he said.

“Ammonium nitrate should be stored nowhere near communities.”