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Safety issues related to synthetic fuels facilities. Final report of the Committee on Synthetic Fuels Facilities Safety, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council.

Penner SS; Chappell WR; Epperly WR; Guthrie HW; Landis JW; Markey KL; McKusick BC; Moure R; Phillips KE; Reichl EH; Singh J; Stegemeier R; Wallace WE
Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1982; :1-329
The future commercialization of a synthetic fuels industry in the United States requires careful consideration of a variety of technical, economic, environmental, safety, and health problems. One consideration involves identifying and controlling any novel safety hazards that may be associated with the design, siting, operation, and decommissioning of complex synthetic fuels facilities. To this end, the Environmental and Safety Engineering Division of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested that the National Research Council examine whether there may he potentials for unconventional safety hazards in the development of a synthetic fuels industry, and whether the current and proposed safety control practices are adequate to protect the worker and the environment. In addition, DOE stressed the importance of evaluating safety hazards that might occur due to a short-term catastrophic event. The Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems through its Energy Engineering Board established the Committee on Synthetic Fuels Facilities Safety to carry out these tasks and to identify the specific safety areas where further research and development (R&D) are needed. The committee's efforts focused on technologies for producing synthetic fuels, from coal and oil shale for which pioneer plants are under construction or design and that appear therefore to have the greatest potential for being commercialized in the United States by the year 2000. These technologies include gasification and liquefaction processes for coal, and aboveground retorting (AGR) processes for oil shale; the committee does not expect in situ techniques for shale oil recovery to playas large a role during this time. Processes for extracting oil from tar sands and from heavy oil sources are not addressed in this study since the committee judged them to be well demonstrated and believed they would not present unconventional safety and health risks--at least not on the order of those that might be associated with a developing oil shale and coal conversion industry. In pursuing its charge, the committee held d two-day workshop during January 1982 to receive input from groups such as academic researchers; program planners representing agencies whose responsibilities include plant safety; plant design companies; labor unions; environmental groups; and representatives from the chemical, oil shale, and coal industries. The material received by the committee at the workshop--through the presentation of formal papers, general participant discussions, and briefings provided by IDOE--supplied the background material (much of which is in the Appendix) for the committee's report. It is important to note that the primary emphasis in this document is on hazards that could endanger worker safety and health, such as acute exposures to toxic substances, fires, explosions, and disabling and fatal accidents. However, the committee also believed it important to note acute hazards that might cause latent and chronic occupational health problems and long-term detriment to the environment. Thus, safety is broadly defined, although this document reflects DOE's interest in having the committee address primarily hazard- and safety-related issues.
Synthetic-materials; Fuel-production; Coal-gas; Coal-products; Oil-shale; Exposure-assessment; Toxic-materials; Fire-hazards; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Short-term-exposure; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-health; Injury-prevention; Safety-research
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Committee on Synthetic Fuels Facilities Safety
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Safety issues related to synthetic fuels facilities. Final report of the Committee on Synthetic Fuels Facilities Safety, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division