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Investigation report on Minor Fire at Settler North at WHFU on 26/6/12

Incident On 06.06.12 at 12: 30 PM, there was a minor fire at Settler North in the jacketed steam wax receiving line of WHFU (Wax Hydro Finishing Unit). The fire was extinguished by opening fire monitor and fire hoses and further cooling operation.

System Description There are two conical settlers namely Settler North and South at off- site area of WHFU each having 33 KL capacity. Each settler is having steam jacketed wax /slop wax receiving line from the top with steam coil facility for keeping the wax in molten condition. The content of the settlers after settling and water draining is transferred to SDU feed tank for reprocessing. Status of equipment before incident 1. Both the settlers are full of wax in molten condition at the time of incident. 2. On 06-06-2012 Settler North was filled up with slop wax from Slop Tank 389.

Information on the incident:


A. Information from SIC and Plant-Operators of WHFU 1. Plant operation was normal till 12:30 hrs. on 06/06/2012. 2. At 12:40 hours, A telephone call was received from WHFU Control Room about the incident of fire at North Settler by PNM(WS). 3. The fire was brought under control by plant personnel and subsequently with the assistance from Fire Service personnel by operating fire monitors and fire hoses in very short time. 4. The steam heating sources were cut off and cooling operation started by water spraying from fire monitors by Fire service personnel.

Page 2 of 3 5. Insulation around the wax receiving line was removed in order to arrest the fire from spreading out. Observations by Committee: 1. The fire took place in the wax receiving line of the settler around the insulated part which was found to be damaged at two/three locations. 2. While purging air through the receiving line melted wax from the settler splashed out and accumulated in the hot metal surface of the receiving line where the fire had taken place. 3. The fire was extinguished by Plant personnel and Fire service personnel in a very short time. 4. The steam heating sources were cut off and the burnt insulated material around the receiving line was removed to prevent the fire from spreading. 5. The adjacent area of the settler is full of scrap wax transported from nearby dismantling area of STOVES and stored there. 6. There was no provision of earthing in either of the settlers.

Root Causes & findings: 06-06-2012 incident of fire The settler is the storage of slop wax generated at WHFU. The content of the settler is heated by MP Steam to keep the wax in molten state. The receiving line is steam traced and the source of the tracing steam is also MP Steam. It has been observed that during receiving of wax at the settler and also during air purging of the receiving line some quantity of wax get splashed out and stick to the receiving line.

1. The slop wax and the wax deposited in the receiving line is gradually heated up by the MP steam having a temperature of 2800C. Hence, the possibility for the Hydrocarbon vapour mixture to attain the Auto ignition temperature of wax of 245 0C is very high and the occurrence of

Page 3 of 3 the fire is thought to be due to attainment of the Auto Ignition Temperature of wax.

2. The investigation committee has observed that there is no earthing provision in both the settler. While pumping of wax and subsequent air purging of the receiving line there is a likelihood of generation of static electricity, which may be a potent cause for the fire to break out.

Recommendations: 1. There is no earthing provision at both the settlers. Earthing to be provided in both the settler to neutralise generation of static electricity.

2. The steam supply source being SM Steam, it is recommended to convert the source of supply to LP Steam to avoid excessive heating.

3. The settler should not be filled up to the brim with wax to avoid wax from being splashed out from the settler during receiving or air purging.

4. The insulation of the receiving line needs to be inspected on regular basis and proper maintenance to be done, whenever necessary.

5. The area near the settler is full of scrap wax. The site to be cleared as early as possible.

B.L.GOGOI PNM (WS)

DR. S.K.KHOUND DQCM

R.BHATTACHARYA MLE(WS)