September 2006

Columns

HPIn Europe: Still searching for Buncefield answers

The independent group set up last December to investigate the terminal explosion and fire at Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, UK, has uncovered fundamental problems with planning and emergency prepar..

Wright, Tim L., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The independent group set up last December to investigate the terminal explosion and fire at Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, UK, has uncovered fundamental problems with planning and emergency preparedness. Specific operational and safety issues were identified in the system that allowed a massive overflow from a gasoline storage tank to continue unchecked for more than 40 minutes. In the 60+ pages of its so-called Initial Report, the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board admits that, from existing principles of flammability, it cannot explain why an ignition of gasoline vapor with no obvious source of confinement led to such a devastating explosion. The board has issued a further

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