SAN JOSE, Calif. California is expected to approve Agilent Technologies Inc.’s controversial request to increase its storage of toxic ammonia gas in San Jose, according to the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday (August 31).
San Jose’s city planners are expected to approve of Agilent’s plan to increase its storage of these materials at a location in San Jose from 2,000 pounds to as much as 105,200 pounds, according to the report. Agilent uses anhydrous ammonia to manufacture LEDs in partnership with Phillips Semiconductor.
“But some neighboring business and property owners are opposed, saying the issue hasn't been debated enough publicly to assuage their concerns about a possible ‘worst-case’ release of the gas,” according to the report.
According to an environmental study, “if one of the four proposed 26,300-pound storage containers were breached within a 10-minute period, unspecified serious injuries could occur to residents within a 1.9-mile radius,” the report added.
Seeking to reposition itself as a pure-play measurement company, Agilent in recent weeks sold its troubled semiconductor business to equity fund companies Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion.
The company also confirmed it will sell the LED unit to Philips and will spin off its system-on-a-chip (SOC) and memory test businesses by next year (see August 15 story).