Title: Industrial accidents triggered by earthquakes, floods and lightning: lessons learned from a database analysis
Authors: KRAUSMANN ElisabethRENNI ElisabettaCAMPEDEL MichelaCOZZANI Valerio
Citation: NATURAL HAZARDS vol. 59 no. 1 p. 285-300
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC59469
ISSN: 0921-030X
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC59469
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-011-9754-3
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Natural hazards and disasters can cause major accidents in chemical and process installations. These so-called Natech accidents can result in hazardous-materials releases due to damage to process and storage units, or pipes. In order to understand the dynamics of Natech events, accidents triggered by earthquakes, floods and lightning recorded in industrial-accident databases were analysed. This allowed the identification of the most vulnerable equipment types, their modes of failure under natural-event loading, and the final accident scenarios. Moreover, lessons learned for future accident prevention and mitigation were derived. The analysis showed that pipes and storage tanks are the most vulnerable equipment for earthquakes, floods and lightning, calling for more research of equipment behaviour under natural-event loading. The damage modes and states are strongly dependent on the characteristics of the impacting natural event. Toxic dispersion, fires and/or explosions were observed as a consequence of all three types of natural event analysed. In the case of floods two additional scenarios were identified. These are water contamination and the formation of toxic and/or flammable vapours upon reaction of the released chemicals with the floodwaters. The overall number of recorded Natech accidents from all the natural hazards considered in the analysed databases was found to range from 2 to 5%.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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