Explosives Precursor Licence

Explosives precursor licence

The EU regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors limits consumers’ ability to freely obtain chemicals that may be misused to produce explosives.

The new regulation (2019/1148) entered into force on 1 February 2021. At the same time, the act on the placement on the market and use of explosives precursors (73/2012) was amended to respond to the regulation’s requirements.

Private persons must apply for a licence from the National Police Board to purchase explosives precursors. 

The licence process only applies to private persons. Those who require these substances in their business activities do not need to apply for a licence to purchase them. However, traders must address other new requirements set out in the EU regulation and Finnish law.

From 1 February 2021, the following chemicals and their concentrations are regarded as explosives precursors:

Substances and their concentrations for the purchase and possession of which a licence can be granted in accordance with the EU regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (CAS RN 7722-84-1)12–35% by weight
  • Nitromethane (CAS RN 75-52-5) 16–100% by weight 
  • Nitric acid (CAS RN 7697-37-2) 3–10% by weight 
  • Sulphuric acid (CAS RN 7664-93-9) 15–40% by weight

Substances for which no licence can be granted in accordance with the EU regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors if their concentration exceeds the threshold value below:

  • Potassium chlorate (CAS RN 3811-04-9) 40% by weight
  • Potassium perchlorate (CAS RN 7778-74-7) 40% by weight
  • Sodium chlorate (CAS RN 7775-09-9) 40% by weight 
  • Sodium perchlorate (CAS RN 7601-89-0) 40% by weight
  • Ammonium nitrate (CAS RN 6484-52-2)  in concentration of 16% by weight of nitrogen in relation to ammonium nitrate or higher

According to the new regulation, no explosives precursor licence can be granted for a substance whose concentration exceeds the aforementioned maximum limit. The lower limit is regarded as a threshold value in the regulation. A licence can be granted for a substance that exceeds the threshold value but not the maximum limit. According to the decree on charges for police services, a fee will be charged for an application, regardless of whether a licence can be granted.

To obtain a licence, the National Police Board must be provided with an accurate and reliable account of how the regulated explosives precursor will be stored. No licence can be granted if it cannot be reliably verified that the regulated explosives precursor will be stored safely. 

According to the valid EU regulation, the National Police Board must, before granting any licence, verify the applicant’s background, including information on any prior criminal judgements issued anywhere in the European Union. As a result, the processing of applications takes several weeks. 
In addition, the National Police Board will take into account the availability of such regulated explosives precursors or alternative substances that have a lower concentration and similar effects. Before submitting their application, the applicant must verify, either by contacting retailers or using web searches, whether similar substances are available on the market that produce the same effects either in lower concentrations or by using completely alternative products (e.g., hydrogen peroxide 10%). If a similar product is available, no licence can be granted. A fee in accordance with the decree on charges for police services will be collected, even if the application is rejected.

For persons under 18 years of age, an explosives precursor licence can only be granted with their guardian’s consent, provided that other requirements set for granting the licence are met.

Proceed as follows

Submit an application

Indicate the maximum desired amount and the maximum percentage by weight (maximum concentration) in your application. Explain the purpose of use in detail. A licence can only be granted for a justified purpose of use. A licence will be granted for a fixed term; however, not more than three years at a time. The justification provided in the application affects the validity period. 

In addition, consider the possibility to use such replacement products as mixtures milder than the threshold value, as well as any recommendations concerning the use of substances.

In the foreground of the picture, the researcher is holding two test tubes.