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Bad practice in bottling with Lithium

Some lithium metal was being packed for sale.  Both the instructions and the stock tin are marked "Store under Argon".  As the argon cylinder was on the other side of the department, the operator purged the tins with nitrogen (which was available "on tap").

Some time later the tins were observed to be imploding and the spill team was raised.  The lithium was forming explosive lithium nitride and creating a vacuum in the tin.  The spill team destroyed the material safely.

When asked why nitrogen had been used, the comment was "the instructions did not say that nitrogen could not be used".

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