China prosecuting managers of Juxin Biotech after plant explosion kills 10

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A report by China's Ministry of Emergency Management says an explosion at a biotech plant was equivalent to 14.15 metric tons of TNT. (daderot/Wikimedia Commons)

Authorities in China are taking tough steps against Juxin Biotech and the companies that built its plant after a massive explosion killed 10 people.

Managers at Juxin Biotech in Lianyungang, Jiangsu, including its safety director Wang Ruren will be criminally prosecuted after an explosion in December 2017 killed 10 and injured another, according to a report from the Ministry of Emergency Management. The biotech also will be fined 5 million yuan ($730,750), and its production permit is being revoked.  

The actions follow an investigation that found the Dec. 9 explosion was triggered by an equipment failure at the plant. The report says the blast was equivalent to 14.15 metric tons of TNT and resulted in a direct economic loss of 48.7 million yuan ($7 million).

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Authorities are taking actions against 45 people, imposing party and administrative penalties against them and companies that were involved in the engineering, equipment installation, safety assessment and inspection of the plant. The report said these entities will be closed, downgraded or fined.

China has been trying to fight its reputation for lax safety standards in its manufacturing sector after a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in August 2015 ripped through the Port of Tianjin, killing 173, injuring hundreds more and causing an estimated $9 billion in damage.

A GlaxoSmithKline plant in the area was damaged and had to close for awhile, leading to some supplies issues for the U.K.-based company.