A PhD student at the top institution “unintentionally formed” the highly dangerous substance triacetone triperoxide (TATP) during a routine experiment, the university has confirmed.
Hundreds of students and staff had to be evacuated from the university’s school of chemistry during the incident earlier this month.
TATP, a notoriously unstable chemical, was used by terrorists in the 7/7 London bombings and the Paris attacks in 2015.
The substance was removed by a bomb squad, who destroyed it in a controlled explosion. Nobody was hurt during the incident, on February 3, the university added.
A spokesperson for the university, which carried out a full investigation into the incident, said: “The student was following a published literature method and the risk of TATP as a potential by-product had been identified during the risk assessment process.
“We have robust contingency plans in place to deal with incidents of this nature. As soon as the presence of TATP was identified the student immediately notified those responsible for laboratory safety in the school.
“A series of actions were then taken which resulted in the precautionary evacuation of the chemistry building and surrounding buildings and the controlled disposal of the substance by the emergency services.”
The university is now reviewing its risk assessment process.