Accident: NDK Crystal Inc. Explosion with Offsite Fatality
Location: Location: Belvidere, IL
Accident Occurred On: 12/07/2009 | Final Report Released On: 11/14/2013
Accident Type: Community Impact
Investigation Status: The CSB's investigation report was approved by a 3-0 vote at a public meeting on November 14, 2013, in Rockford, IL.
A large explosion at the NDK America Inc. plant launched debris 300 yards fatally injuring a member of the public. Two individuals were reported to have sustained minor injuries and were treated onsite. The facility is a manufacturer of quartz crystals in Belvidere, Illinois, approximately 60 miles northwest of Chicago.
Revise the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code to include specific material thickness limitations for the design of pressure-containing components to ensure proper heat treatment and avoid environmentally induced damage mechanisms. Clarify required vessel wall thickness limitations for SA-723 steel in the following code sections:
a) ASME BPVC Section II, Part A, Material Requirements
b) ASME BPVC Section VIII, Division III, Article KM-400, Material Design Data
Prohibit the use of the existing pressure vessels at the NDK facility for crystal growing operations.
Develop and implement state requirements and procedures to ensure the pressure vessel approval process accurately identifies vessels that may be subject to corrosion or similar deterioration mechanisms, and ensure regular inspections in accordance with these state requirements.
Communicate the findings of this Case Study to pressure vessel inspectors in all 50 states. At a minimum:
a. Send the information (such as an article summarizing the investigation) to each member who is a pressure vessel inspector; and,
b. Post a direct link to the NDK Case Study on the National Board’s webpage.
For the design and operation of any new NDK Crystal facility using a hydrothermal or equivalent crystal growing process, ensure that the facility uses a process that is rigorously demonstrated to be inherently safer than the existing process (for example through using lower temperatures and pressures, and/or less corrosive conditions).
Implement a program to ensure the ongoing integrity of any coating used on the new process vessels. Employ an expert (e.g., a coatings expert certified by NACE International (National Association of Corrosion Engineers)) to design the program.
Implement an annual inspection and corrective action program to ensure vessels remain resistant to environmentally induced damage mechanisms based on the inspection guidelines set forth in the American Petroleum Institute (API) Standard 510, Pressure Vessel Inspection Code.
Commission a facility siting study of the NDK Crystal facility by an independent consultant. Identify all vessel failure scenarios prior to restarting the crystal growing process. The siting study should include the consequences, necessary preventive measures, and emergency planning and response programs relevant to each failure scenario for all surrounding points of concern. Provide a copy of this study to the City of Belvidere Building and Zoning Department and the Illinois Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Division.