At least five people have been killed and at least 12 are injured as a result of an explosion at Mitsubishi Materials – in Japan.

According to official reports the blast happened yesterday afternoon (January 9th) when, it is understood, maintenance crews were working on a heat exchanger used in the production of silicon products at the plant in Yokkaichi City – 220miles West of Japan’s capital Tokyo.

Some reports have suggested the blast caused no fire and was a hydrogen explosion when water mixed with chemical residue inside the exchanger. Five, from the maintenance team, were instantly killed

There are reports that state numbers between 12 to 17 additional people were injured because of the incident.

There is now the belief that the semiconductor industry could feel the repercussions of the blast as the plant is believed to provide Sumco with refined silicon for making ingots and wafers, and companies that require purified silicon for sputtering.