The General Director of the Spolana chemical factory, Radomir Vek, has been sacked following two serious leaks of toxic chlorine gas and liquid chlorine at the flood-damaged plant, just 25 km north of Prague. The plant's board has decided to replace Mr Vek with the General Director of Chemopetrol, Miroslav Kuliha, as of Tuesday. A third degree chemical alert was called in the north Bohemian town of Neratovice and several nearby villages on Friday following an accident at Spolana in which several hundred kilograms of poisonous chlorine gas were released into the air. A Spolana representative later admitted to other flood related problems, saying that close to 80 tons of chlorine had leaked into the river Elbe when the plant was flooded.
Meanwhile, at the plant itself, Spolana's emergency committee decided on Monday to begin pumping out the remaining 12 -14 tons of chlorine, to be converted into non-toxic sodium chlorate. Since a further leak of the chlorine gas into the air cannot be ruled out, rescuers have been put on alert and evacuation buses are ready to transport residents to a secure area.
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