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I didn't say I thought it was 100% safe - nothing is. But the hype you read is that LNG are the equivalent to 'floating nuclear bombs'... ready to take out a city like Long Beach or LA. Reality is they are probably safer than tankers full of gasoline - something we will need to think about should we start importing a lot more 'finished distillates' and less crude.

And I worked in the chem business too... ran distillation columns in alcohol processing plants 'splitting the azeotrope'... we had alcohol, benzene, gasoline and natural gas (boilers)... all of them like potential bombs about to go off all the time. LNG is a risk but not worse than others - probably less so due to the nature of the liquid gas and the way they transport it.

As long as the LNG is liquid - it is fairly safe. Once it goes gaseous then it isn't... and it needs a lot of heat to do that. But 'ya' if a whole tanker split open in a harbor and the liquid boiled out over the rapidly freezing ocean ... ya that would be bad. Eventually it would evaporate and disperse & dilute to a concentration able to support an explosion...  somewhere if not immediately at the accident site. On the other hand it is possible it might disperse too quickly to explode. The concentrations need to be right... enough gas, enough air... and of course the ignition source... It is far more likely to happen in a confined space like a building or city block then out on the ocean, in the open, wind rain and all.

But it would be just as bad if a tanker of distillate spilled open in the same heavily populated harbor... and spread out over the surface of the water, evaporating then if conditions get right BOOM...

The whole point is it isn't easy to make these things happen... make all the factors work in concert. Nd these LNG tankers aren't one big open cargo ship... they are a little more complex then the Exxon Valdez. They have many smaller high pressure tanks hooked up together but isolated from each other. They all aren't going to just 'split open'...  

I think there is plenty to worry about - but this isn't even close to the top of my list.


"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." - Peter Steiner

by dryfly (jjwhodat at hotmail dot com) on Sat Jun 25th, 2005 at 09:05:12 PM EST
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