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Robert McClure

President of R.A. McClure

Robert McClure is President of R.A. McClure, Inc. (RAM) an international independent explosive technical services consulting firm.

Mr. McClure attended The Ohio State University, North Central Technical College and Lowell University. His work experience includes the development and application of electronic detonator systems and advanced profiling technology.

He is a certified instructor for the U.S. Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE). RAM is a member of the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME), Robert is chairman of the Electronic Detonator, SLP 20 and UAV/UAS sub committees.

Mr. McClure also holds blasting licenses and certifications in multiple states. He is a member and actively involved with the ISEE International Society of Explosives Engineers, and a recipient of the ISEE Presidential Award. He is also a member of the SME, Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. and the IBTA, International Bomb Technicians Association.

Rendering safe explosives in an urban environment presents a unique challenge due to the safety concerns and disruption to the general public. Potential damage to the surrounding homes, businesses, utilities and transportation infrastructure are some of the major concerns when planning the render-safe operation. Engineering controls to mitigate blast effects such as damaging air over pressure levels, material ejection and ground borne vibration need to be implemented as part of the operation. Monitoring of seismic and air overpressure during these operations are needed to protect against claims when controlled or unplanned detonations occur.

Two recent render-safe operations conducted in and around urban environments dealt with deteriorated sensitive dynamite and damaged blasting caps. Utilizing innovative neutralization chemicals and processes to render-safe the deteriorated dynamite while protecting the general public proved to be the safest, most environmentally responsible, cost effective way to deal with the problem. In both cases the explosives, old dynamite and detonators were found in abandoned unlocked magazines. The dynamite was in a significantly deteriorated state, which was evident due to the nitroglycerine found leaking in, around and under the dynamite cartridges. Iron wire permissible electric blasting caps were also found in a corroded condition with exposed explosives and un-shunted lead wires. With occupied buildings within 180 feet (54.86 meters) of the magazines, any procedure (e.g. transporting, countercharging, burning) that could potentially cause a detonation was not an option. In the event of an unplanned detonation during neutralization operations, several blast mitigation methods were employed to safeguard the site.

This operation and a similar one with over a thousand pounds of crushed and buried leaky dynamite were unique since all the explosives were rendered-safe and neutralized on site. The use of advanced neutralization products and filtering processes allowed for a safer more environmentally responsible way to deal with the problem. The magazines and all residual solids and fluids were tested and confirmed by independent labs to have no explosives residues. The effluents were treated on site, tested and met safe levels, so they were disposed of at a local municipal wastewater facility.