Title: Assessment of Tsunami Risk to an Oil Refinery in Southern Italy
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC51124
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23801 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC51124
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Industrial facilities located in coastal areas subject to tsunami hazards may be at risk of tsunami impact and damage. Furthermore, if hazardous materials are present these can be accidentally released impacting nearby residents and dispersing into the environment. In this report we present the results of a study which analyzed the potential impact of two tsunamis originating in the Tyrrhenian Sea and their consequences at an industrial facility located on the coast in north-eastern Sicily. The results of the tsunami simulations indicate that in both scenarios there would be eighteen storage tanks (of 43 located within 400 m from the shoreline) at the industrial facility subject to flooding, with tanks closer to the shoreline suffering up to 0.8 m inundation. Flow velocities in most areas are less than 1 m/s. This indicates that any damage would occur due to hydrostatic uplift forces due to buoyancy particularly in the western part of the facility where inundation levels are higher and storage tanks are less protected. Potential damage caused by impact of floating debris may be a problem in an area near the shoreline just west of a pumping station and warehouse (central section of the refinery near the shoreline) due to high flow velocities (3-4 m/s) in both tsunami scenarios. Foundation soils and foundation systems could also be at risk from shear- and liquefaction-induced scour in this section of the plant. The likelihood for hazardous materials releases from inundated storage tanks is low but could occur due to breakage of connected pipelines and flanges due to buoyancy, or due to floating off of almost empty storage tanks and connected pipelines. Flooding of electrical equipment, such as control panels, pumps, and motors not raised above the inundation level could result in salt water intrusion leading to possible short circuit, hampering of safety and mitigation systems, process upsets and possible hazardous materials releases. We conclude however that in the two scenarios studied, the consequences of potential hazardous materials releases, fires or explosions triggered by the tsunamis on nearby residents and neighbouring facilities are likely to be small. Nevertheless, we make recommendations for preventive and preparedness measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of tsunami-triggered Natech accidents and to mitigate their consequences if they do occur.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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