Compresseur n°1 accidenté : compresseur à double étage comprimant l'éthylène de 3 à 33 bar. Il fonctionne en alternance avec le compresseur principal. Le jour de l'accident, il totalisait 43 jours de fonctionnement depuis sa dernière maintenance 5 mois avant. Il jouxtait 2 autres compresseurs (n°2 et 3). Ces derniers étaient arrêtés et isolés automatiquement sur déclenchement des détecteurs gaz, ce qui n'était pas le cas [...]
Around 10:30 pm in the isocyanate unit at a Seveso-classified chemical plant, a sensor detected a rapid conductivity rise in a heat exchanger, in which phosgene (COCl2) pressurised to tens of bar was being reheated with water vapour at 28 bar before reacting with an amine. Once the sensor alarm threshold was reached (50 µS), the safety controller isolated the drainage circuit for exchanger condensates by closing a motorised valve. A second conductivity meter, which had not been functioning properly and was scheduled for replacement by maintena [...]
At a Seveso-classified petrochemical plant, a pipe supplying air to a steam production boiler exploded at 3:40 pm, triggering a few seconds later a 2nd and more powerful explosion on a duct used to recover volatile organic compounds (VOC). The explosion and debris from the duct caused a fire outbreak on both a duct cyclofilter and a 1,000-litre vinyl acetate tank at the base of a distillation column, as well as a leak on the pipe feeding a 1-m³ oxygen tank. The safety controller immediately shut down the boilers, and site facilities were switc [...]
An explosion occurred around 1:40 am in a formulation reactor upon completion of camphorsulfonic acid loading into the toluene for the purpose of drying by means of azeotropic distillation. The explosion injured 1 technician due to the direct (blast) effect and caused the upper part of the distillation column to burst, in addition to roof damage (asbestos cement tiles torn off) and debris projections (mainly pieces of glass) spewed 20 to 30 m outside the building. The top of the column (nominal diam.: 300, 1 bar) split, the temperature transmit [...]
An empty butadiene tanker car not yet degassed was in transit at a marshalling yard. Due to the ambient cold temperature (-17°C), the gaseous phase of the butadiene liquefied (Tboiling=-4.4°C); cistern pressure was drawn down by an estimated 0.35 bar (tank design threshold) and then collapsed. The railroad operator initiated the accident response procedure at 8 am: yard personnel were confined to the office and rail traffic was stopped in the yard. Arriving at 9 am, fire-fighters detected no cracks or explosion risks.
Since the cistern was inc [...]
Fire broke out around 11:40 pm on the front bumper of a propane tanker lorry parked near the vehicle repair shop at a company operating as a gas bottle transporter and broker of bulk liquid and liquefied hydrocarbons. This 200-employee company was subject to conditions outlined in the "Classified Facilities" legislation for storing bottles of flammable liquefied gas of a total amount inferior to 50 tonnes. A watchman with the industrial park's security firm notified emergency services. A BLEVE-type vapour explosion occurred at 12:17 am on the lorr [...]
At 11:15 pm, a violent and loud bursting occurs within an ammonia (NH3) synthesis unit at a SEVESO-classified nitrogenous fertiliser plant. The convex base welded to a heat-insulated, high-pressure water vapour pipe connected to catalytic reforming equipment had burst prior to ignition. The base, a 40-kg block of steel, was projected longitudinally. Inside the shop area, a walkway was ripped off its supports damaging an access ladder. The steel base crossed the ammonia confinement space 25 m further, without causing any damage, then flew over a [...]