Estimation of Explosion Danger Areas

  • Version
    Ed.2 Amendment.1
  • Latest amendment
    01 Jul 2013

The estimation of explosion danger areas for large UXO or during the multi-item disposal of ammunition and explosives is a technically complex issue. IMAS 10.20 Annex C provides general guidance on methodologies that can be applied; this Technical Note expands on these methodologies in more detail for the benefit of mine action programme managers and field staff.

The danger areas laid down for single mine or UXO disposal at IMAS 10.20 Annex C are based on the practical experience gained by military EOD technicians over many years. However, they are not fully comprehensive and are not intended to provide for every possible situation. They are intended purely as a general guide, and must be modified by the EOD technician, or other trained staff member, who must deal with each case on its merits based on experience, technical judgement and a detailed knowledge of ammunition and explosives.

This technical note contains two levels of information. At the first level, it contains simple tables, which should be sufficient for most demolition tasks in most mine-and munition-polluted countries. However, the field manager may well be faced with the need to conduct demolitions in confined spaces, or near to buildings and facilities. In these cases, some calculations will be necessary, and the second level of information will allow a more precise estimate of safety distances to be made.

The techniques proposed in this Technical Note should not be applied for the routine small single item mine and UXO clearance tasks most frequently encountered during demining operations. They are specifically designed for the more complicated UXO tasks and for multi- item demolitions. The calculations will estimate explosion danger areas, but make no allowance for the presence of tamping or protective works. When these are used, the EOD technician, or trained staff member, must again rely on experience, common-sense, sound technical judgement and a detailed knowledge of ammunition and explosives as is available. However, they will enable the EOD technician to be able to more accurately predict and estimate safe explosion danger areas.

Multi-item demolitions do result in increased fragmentation hazard1 resulting from cooperative effects from adjacent munitions. Due to the complexity of these effects simple formulae to determine appropriate safety distances in these circumstances have yet to be derived. However, simple formulae based on experimentation and reference to accepted explosive effect equations have been postulated and trialled. The results have been encouraging to the degree where they are now in wider spread use. They are therefore used in this TN.

This Technical Note has been written as an advisory document to ensure that managers, field staff and EOD technicians are aware of both the rough “rule of thumb” distance calculations and the potential methodologies for more accurately estimating explosion danger areas by calculation. Microsoft EXCEL based spread sheets have been developed by the GICHD to assist in these calculations; requirement for the sheets should be sent to

The estimation of explosion danger areas for large UXO and multi-item demolitions should only be undertaken by appropriately qualified EOD or academically trained personnel; it is not a task for basic deminers or other field staff. When in doubt, seek advice. If such advice is unobtainable, use the level one information as a minimum, and add 50% if the circumstances allow it.

The International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) 2011 contain a guideline on explosives related formulae (IATG 01.80 Formulae for ammunition management) and also guidance as to the development of an explosion consequence analysis (ECA) (IATG 02.10 Introduction to risk management principles). These particular IATG may be used by appropriately qualified staff to more accurately estimate explosion danger areas under particular conditions.

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10.20 / 01

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