Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Arkema expects chemical fire at flooded Texas plant

Arkema chemical plant faces explosion risk after Harvey floodwaters King of Prussia-Based Company Says Texas Plant At Risk Of Explosion Due To Harvey Flooding
Mae Harvey | 31 August, 2017, 01:39

The refrigeration system at the chemical plant, which produces organic peroxides for the plastics and rubber industries, has failed due to the Harvey flooding, the company said.

Workers and residents within a mile radius of a manufacturing plant in Crosby, Texas, have been evacuated Tuesday evening over concerns that there could be an explosion or fire at the facility in the wake of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Organic peroxides need to be kept cool, otherwise they may explode. The plant lost refrigeration when backup generators were flooded, and workers transferred products from warehouses into diesel-powered refrigerated containers. As of 2015, there were 57 employees at the Crosby plant.

As Trump witnessed the destruction first hand, residents within 2.4 km of a chemical plant in southeast Texas are being evacuated as a "precautionary measure" because of the rising risk of an explosion.

The company said it was working with officials from the Department of Homeland Security.

Arkema has plants in half a dozen countries, including 34 in the United States.

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It would be surprising if the company had not considered a scenario like this, the Chronicle cited Sam Mannan of Texas A&M University's Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center. Rowe described this evacuation radius as "conservative", and said he expects that the effects of a fire or explosion would be contained on the site's facilities.

"You'll lose the feedstock, but it's safer than letting it go into runaway mode", Mannan said.

It could be six days until the floodwaters at the Arkema plant recede enough for people to get access to the chemical stores.

"Materials could now explode and cause a subsequent and intense fire".

He downplayed any long-term impact or any toxic inhalation hazards from a fire or explosion at the plant, saying he was not aware of anything the public should be concerned about.

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