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Kleen Energy Natural Gas Explosion
FINAL REPORT: Kleen Energy
Location: Middletown, CT
Accident Occurred On: 02/07/2010
Final Report Released On: 06/28/2010
Accident Type: Flammable Vapor
Company Name: Kleen Energy

statistics

Total # of Recommendations
18
Total # of Open Recommendations
4
Total # of Closed Recommendations
14
Total % of Open 22 vs. Closed 78

investigation information

Image
Accident Description
Six workers were fatally injured during a planned work activity to clean debris from natural gas pipes at Kleen Energy in Middletown, CT. To remove the debris, workers used natural gas at a high pressure of approximately 650 pounds per square inch. The high velocity of the natural gas flow was intended to remove any debris in the new piping. During this process, the natural gas found an ignition source and exploded.
Investigation Status
The CSB's final report was approved at a public meeting in Portland, CT, on June 28, 2010.


 

Recommendations

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
2010-07-I-CT-3

Make appropriate changes to the 2012 version of Power Piping, ASME B31.1, to require the use of inherently safer fuel gas piping cleaning methodologies rather than natural gas blows. At a minimum, for the cleaning or flushing methods discussed in B31.1 paragraph 122.10, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air as the motive force in lieu of flammable gas.

URGENT!
Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

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Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
2010-01-I-CT-18

Work with the six turbine manufacturers identified in this document – General Electric, Siemens, Solar, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce – to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

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General Electric (GE)
2010-01-I-CT-10

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
2010-07-I-CT-4

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

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Governor and Legislature of the State of Connecticut
2010-01-I-CT-16

Enact legislation applicable to power plants in the state that prohibits the use of flammable gas that is released to the atmosphere to clean fuel gas piping.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

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2010-01-I-CT-17

Adopt the current version of NFPA 54 as amended pursuant to 2010-01-I-CT-R2.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - No Longer Applicable
Closed - No Longer Applicable (C - NLA) - Due to subsequent events, the recommendation action no longer applies (e.g., the facility was destroyed or the company went out of business).
 

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Mitsubishi Power Systems
2010-01-I-CT-13

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
2010-07-I-CT-7

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
2010-07-I-CT-2

Enact a Tentative Interim Amendment and permanent changes to the National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54/ANSI Z223.1) that address the safe conduct of fuel gas piping cleaning operations. At a minimum:

a. Remove the existing NFPA 54 fuel gas piping exemptions for power plants and systems with an operating pressure of 125 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) or more.

b. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows or pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action
Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action (C - ERA) - Action on the recommendation meets and surpasses the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
2010-07-I-CT-1

Promulgate regulations that address fuel gas safety for both construction and general industry. At a minimum:

a. Prohibit the release of flammable gas to the atmosphere for the purpose of cleaning fuel gas piping.

b. Prohibit flammable gas venting or purging indoors. Prohibit venting or purging outdoors where fuel gas may form a flammable atmosphere in the vicinity of workers and/or ignition sources.

c. Prohibit any work activity in areas where the concentration of flammable gas exceeds a fixed low percentage of the lower explosive limit (LEL) determined by appropriate combustible gas monitoring.

d. Require that companies develop flammable gas safety procedures and training that involves contractors, workers, and their representatives in decision-making.

URGENT!
Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Open - Unacceptable Response (O - UR) - Recipient responds by expressing disagreement with the need outlined in the recommendation. The Board believes, however, that there is enough supporting evidence to ask the recipient to reconsider.
 

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Pratt & Whitney
2010-01-I-CT-14

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
2010-07-I-CT-8

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
Rolls-Royce
2010-01-I-CT-9

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response
Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response (O - ARAR) - Response from recipient indicates a planned action that would satisfy the objective of the recommendation when implemented.
 

Download
2010-01-I-CT-15

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
Siemens
2010-01-I-CT-12

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
2010-07-I-CT-5

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
Solar Turbines
2010-01-I-CT-11

Work with the Electric Power Research Institute to publish technical guidance addressing the safe cleaning of fuel gas piping supplying gas turbines. At minimum:

a. For cleaning methodology, require the use of inherently safer alternatives such as air blows and pigging with air in lieu of flammable gas.

b. Provide technical guidance for the safe and effective use of alternative methods for cleaning such as air and pigging with air.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
2010-07-I-CT-6

Provide to your customers:

a. Comprehensive technical guidance on inherently safer methods for cleaning fuel gas piping, such as the use of air or pigging with air.

b. Comprehensive Cleaning Force Ratio (CFR) guidelines, specifying both the upper and lower limits required to obtain satisfactory cleaning for the fuel gas piping for purposes of the warranties of the turbines.

c. Warnings against the use of fuel gas to clean pipes.

URGENT!
Status: Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response
Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response (O - ARAR) - Response from recipient indicates a planned action that would satisfy the objective of the recommendation when implemented.
 

Download
 
 

Related Video

Deadly Practices
2/3/2011 5:00:00 AM
Dangers of intentionally releasing natural gas into work areas read more

Download QuickTime Video
Ban Natural Gas Blows Ban Natural Gas Blows
10/19/2010 4:00:00 AM
U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso calls for a ban on the cleaning out of debris from gas piping using pressurized natural gas, a practice that is referred to in the industry as a gas blow. read more

Download QuickTime Video

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