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Safety

Corrosion Led To Utah Refinery Blast

by Jeff Johnson
April 21, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 16

Sulfidation corrosion in a 10-inch pipe at the bottom of a reactor in the mobile distillation dewaxing unit of the Silver Eagle Refinery in Woods Cross, Utah, led to a hydrogen release and blast on Nov. 4, 2009. That is the conclusion in a recently released metallurgical analysis by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The board’s examination found the accident cause to be similar to those of two other recent refinery accident investigations. Fortunately, CSB notes, no one was seriously injured in the Silver Eagle explosion, but more than 100 homes were damaged. CSB found no inspection records for the failed pipe, which had been thinning for years, according to the metallurgical analysis. CSB’s full report remains delayed, the board says, because of its workload and a “pressing series of accidents in the oil production and refining sector.”

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