No, this video doesn’t show an accident at a uranium enrichment site in Iran
Issued on: Modified:
A video which has been circulating on Facebook since the beginning of July supposedly shows an accident in a uranium enrichment site in Iran. However, the incident actually took place in a chemicals factory in China on March 5, 2018.
In the video, a large but brief flame suddenly explodes out of a kind of vent in the equipment that a worker is tinkering with. The worker disappears instantly. We’ve decided to only publish screen captures of the video as the images could be upsetting for some readers.
To establish where the video comes from, we carried out a reverse image search [check out our guide here to find out how to do one yourself] using Google Reverse Image Search. This brought up a a list of where and when the video had been published online before.
The video was posted on YouTube on February 23, 2019 – long before it started circulating with the caption indicating it had happened in Iran.
It was also published in an article in the Hong Kong daily newspaper Apple Daily on February 22, 2019. The article describes an accident that took place on May 5, 2018, in a chemicals factory belonging to Taixing Yangzi Pharm Chemical Co. in Taizhou in China. The article explains that the accident, caught on surveillance camera, occurred during a maintenance operation in the factory, and that the employee died from the explosion.
In the afternoon of March 5, Wang Nan, the deputy director of the hydrogenation workshop, took out the catalyser from the hydrogenation furnace and opened the vacuum valve on the furnace. That caused a large amount of air to be sucked into the furnace, forming an explosive mixture with the ethanol vapour. Then the hydrogenation furnace exploded and Wang Nan was thrown backwards by the force of the explosion.
One of the occasions where the video appears online is on a Reddit post. Underneath the description of the video, the person who posted it also posted a link to a press release published by the Taizhou municipality on October 27, 2018, laying out the results of an investigation by local authorities into the accident. The text explains that security measures hadn’t been followed during the maintenance operation and ordered the factory to organise risk-prevention training. They also imposed a fine of 350,000 yuans [around 45,000 euros]. We weren’t able to find out if these recommendations were carried out.
This video has nothing to do with Iran and actually shows a accident that occurred in a Chinese factory on March 5, 2018. If you want to find out more about how to fact-check photos and videos that you see online, check out our fact-checking guide here.