How are items of UXO disposed of?

How are items of UXO disposed of?

28 Jul 2023

Brimstone Site Investigation

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This informal CPD article, ‘How are items of UXO disposed of?’, was provided by Brimstone Site Investigation, who are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts dedicated to the safe removal and disposal of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) across the United Kingdom and around the globe.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) poses significant risks to public safety and the environment. Therefore, it is crucial that safe and proper disposal methods are used to destroy these items when they are discovered. This article looks at the two key methods Brimstone uses for UXO disposals. These are known as high-order and low-order disposal techniques.

High-order UXO disposals

Sometimes, the easiest and most effective way of disposing of an item of ordnance is with an explosion, using high-order disposal techniques. This method uses plastic explosives and electric or non-electric firing systems to cause a controlled detonation.

In high-order disposals, highly skilled explosives engineers carefully calculate safety distances to protect people and nearby infrastructure during the detonation. Additional protective measures, such as blast walls and shields, may be employed to ensure maximum safety. These structures are designed to absorb and redirect the force of the explosion, minimising its impact on the surrounding area. High-order disposals are considered effective and efficient, particularly for UXO items that are stable and can be safely detonated.

Low-order UXO disposals

Low-order disposal techniques aim to destroy items of UXO without causing an explosion. These methods utilise advanced techniques, such as thermal lances and various chargers, to induce deflagration instead of detonation.

Deflagration involves a slower burning process, reducing the environmental impact and minimising the potential damage to surrounding infrastructure. This method is often preferred when dealing with highly sensitive or unstable items of ordnance. By utilising low-order disposal methods, professionals can safely eliminate the risks associated with UXO while minimising the potential harm to the environment and nearby structures.

Transporting items of unexploded ordnance

In some cases, it is necessary to transport items of UXO from their original location to a designated disposal site. Specialised mobile detonation chambers are used for this purpose, providing a safe and controlled environment to move the ordnance securely.

Transportation is sometimes required when items of ordnance need to be moved away from populated areas. By using mobile detonation chambers, professionals can safely transport the items to a separate disposal site where they can be effectively and securely disposed of.

The dangers of UXO

It is important to understand the dangers associated with UXO and how to respond if you come across a suspicious item. Even if an item appears old or inactive, it can still be extremely dangerous. If you encounter a suspicious item that you suspect may be UXO, you should always follow these steps:

  1. Do not touch, move, or disturb the item.
  2. Keep a safe distance from the item and ensure others do the same.
  3. Immediately report the location and description of the item to local authorities.
  4. Follow the guidance provided by professionals and evacuate the area if advised to do so. 

Ensuring public safety

Safe and effective unexploded ordnance disposal methods are crucial for ensuring public safety and minimising environmental impacts. High-order and low-order disposal techniques provide specialised approaches to eliminate the risks associated with unexploded ordnance, keeping people, infrastructure, and the environment safe.

We hope you found this article helpful. For more information from Brimstone Site Investigation, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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For more information from Brimstone Site Investigation, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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