Liquified Petroleum Gas Explosion – Milford, Texas

On November 14, 2013, a Chevron maintenance crew compromised a 10 inch pipe carrying liquified petroleum gas. The resulting explosion and hours long fire resulted in a precautionary evacuation of the nearby town that lasted about a day. No one was reported to have been injured during the event. The fire stopped burning once all of the LPG in the pipe had been consumed.

From a photogenic point of view, the continuing flames and dense plume of smoke from this event are at least as dramatic as the short burst of exploding hydrogen gas captured at Fukushima and endlessly repeated on the web, in major newspapers and on network newscasts all over the world.

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32 Responses to “Liquified Petroleum Gas Explosion – Milford, Texas”

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  1. Engineer-Poet says:

    I like to post links to a certain YouTube video of a wind turbine self-destructing due to overspeed just to show that you can get spectacular failures in all sorts of stuff.

    What matters is if anyone gets hurt.  Fukushima’s a bigger mess than a broken wind turbine, but it gave bigger benefits too.

    • Gareth Fairclough says:

      ” but it gave bigger benefits too.”

      EP, that is quite possibly the understatement of the decade.

  2. donb says:

    Accidents involving clean and safe natural gas cause much more death than accidents involving nuclear power, but it is only mild death. Nuclear accidents cause much more severe death. This is why so many “environmentalist” oppose nuclear power ;-).

    • Gareth Fairclough says:

      @donb
      How often does a nuclear plant have a lethal accident compared to how often other types of power plant have them?

  3. Daniel says:

    Speaking of deaths, have you noticed how certain insurance company offer you an extended coverage (and premium to go) for accidental death on top of your life insurance policy ?

    There has to be a way to make a mockery from the prejudice of the energy industry vis-à-vis nuclear.

    • Bas says:

      Daniel,
      Here in NL (I believe in all EU countries), all insurance companies exclude all damage caused by nuclear accidents.
      Their argument is that they cannot afford it (or the premium will become to high).

      Also because the nuclear law limits liability of nuclear plants to a ridiculous low amount, so they cannot retrieve the damage if they have to pay (neither can the citizen).

      That nuclear law was installed because otherwise utilities said they could not afford to start with nuclear (it also limits liability for nuclear waste).

      Those contribute into making nuclear the most subsidized method of electricity generation.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Bas

        Their argument is that they cannot afford it (or the premium will become to high).

        In the US, the argument is that nuclear accident hazards are covered by insurance paid by nuclear plant operators, both the $375 million per unit covered by ordinary liability insurance and the $12 billion pool that results from the Price-Anderson Act. That insurance has always been sufficient; no one in the US has ever suffered an uncompensated loss as a result of a nuclear accident.

        I would bet that there have been hundreds of thousands of cases of uncompensated losses arising from oil, coal and gas related accidents over time.

        • Dogmug says:

          In fact, this was one of the big problems arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion and oil leak. Many, if not most, of the people who suffered losses have yet to be compensated. In addition, this is now a litigation bonanza.

          Had there been a system in place like Price-Anderson, this would have never even become an issue.

  4. John Chatelle says:

    Hmmm. Why isn’t there a “Gas Regulatory Commission” with a flakey head commissioner working effectively for a competing industry, who would demand an automatic shutoff every 1000 feet of pipeline with a Halide purger for each section?

  5. Mitch says:

    donb says gas causes “mild” deaths.

    “Mild deaths”. That’s a new one! So then all those non-injuries at Fukushima should rightly be of zero concern to environmentalists, right?

    donb says Nuclear accidents cause much more severe death

    A LNG tank can cause much more severe deaths. Still here.
    A oil tank explosion can and HAS cause much more severe deaths. Still here.
    A burst dam can and HAS caused much more severe deaths. Still here.
    Nuclear plants have had over 50 years to show everyone how much more “severe deaths” they cause and no dice. So what does that make environmentalists whining about booting nukes out for safety and saving lives?
    Hypocrites in spades with a cherry on top.

  6. John Tucker says:

    In august at the kyoto fireworks festival a small generator refueling accident that lead to a explosion involving a gas cylinder killed 3 and injured about 60. Many seriously. It was forgotten in moments.

    Now the anti nukes and many utter dingbats on the west coast are feverishly blaming fukushima radiation for an outbreak of star fish wasting disease. Never mind all through the 70′s and 80′s there were HUGE outbreaks and it is linked to warmer water.

    Im tired of the hysteria and stupidity and the cowardly scientific/academic and professional community that lets the media run unchecked perpetuating it.

  7. Cory Stansbury says:

    With all do respect to Rod, that fire isn’t even close to as spectacular as the H2 explosions at Fukushima.

    • Rod Adams says:

      Are you serious? Did you watch those H2 explosions in real time, not super slow motion? There was not even a bright light, just a puff of white smoke that dissipated within a few minutes.

      • Cory Stansbury says:

        You neglect the flying chunks of building, the visible mushroom cloud and all the other visual appeal of an explosion. I do agree there was no “fire” per se, but the sheer power of the event (equivalent in energy to a 500-1000 pound bomb if memory serves me right) is far more impressive than this fire. Now, if this were a BLEVE event, Texas City, or PEPCO I’d be on your side.

        Don’t forget, we’re on the same team here. Fukushima is an expensive mess, but that and the needless evacuation is the extent of the tragedy. However, I won’t bury my head in the sand either. Those Fukushima explosions were incredibly damaging to our image because they were almost perfect for the anti-nuke cases. I knew I was witnessing, in real time, a massive blow to nuclear energy when I watched them.

        • John Tucker says:

          Theatric build up too I guess. TEPCO calling it a partial “wall collapse” probably didn’t help much either.

    • John Tucker says:

      Seriously? If there are people around during large petro/NG tank/pipeline explosions its common for them not to even find remains. Ever.

  8. Eino says:

    Daniel wrote:
    “There has to be a way to make a mockery from the prejudice of the energy industry vis-à-vis nuclear.”

    Well,…..I kinda wonder. Did some of these big environmental organizations see their coffers grow after nuclear perturbances? Was this coffer growth a “lesson” from Three Mile Island (TMI)? You never hear about the whales any more. Maybe, Greenpeace found a better thing to protest about. Something with much more green.

    People have a lot of things to feel Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about. Why do nuclear plants always seem to be at the top of their fear list? What connection is there? Who is ensuring that the fear continues?

    The Truth is Out There!

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Eino

      You might be interested in reading some of the “smoking gun” posts on Atomic Insights.

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        Rod:  You might want to add a “tags” section to your sidebar to make the categories easier to browse.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @EP

          You can easily browse through categories from the archives page – http://atomicinsights.com/topical-index/

          On any Atomic Insights page, look to the top left corner where you see “Home”, “About”, “More>>”. The “More>>” menu has a drop down if you hover your cursor over the word. The list includes “Atomic Show”, “Links” and “Archives”.

          Rod

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            Tag clouds were invented to make these things more obvious and easier to grasp visually.

    • Bas says:

      @Eino,
      Why do nuclear plants always seem to be at the top of their fear list?
      Two main reasons:
      – The danger is invisible; and
      – nuclear folks and authorities have shown to be unreliable.
      The last one is probably the most killing reason.

      Who is ensuring that the fear continues?
      Authorities such as IAEA/WHO which once even stated that Chernobyl took less than 80(?) lives.
      Nuclear experts stating that exclusion zones are ridiculous.
      Nuclear experts immediately at the start of Fukushima stating that no death through radiation would occur, while first estimations by low level radiation experts now talk about many thousands.
      Nuclear experts all once guaranteeing that those accidents would occur only once in a million reactor years, while we now have 4 such reactors after ~12,000 reactor years.

      The citizen reading in his insurance policy that all nuclear (accident) caused damage is excluded. So he concludes that his insurance company considers that danger to high. And asks himself what he gets back for that prohibitive high danger.

      He then reads in the paper that the taxpayer has to pay ~100billion in order to organize the nuclear mess at Sellafield, which also made eating fish from parts of the Irish sea dangerous (forbidden).

      How can this citizen be pro-nuclear, unless he is a dreamer?

      • John Tucker says:

        Real person or just an annoying bot?

        How? because none of what you said is true, or relevant to any real risk.

        • Dave says:

          I really dislike how he has either no sources for his position or crappy, biased ones. I once asked him for credible, reliable sources to back up his endlessly repeated claims of massive nuclear insurance subsidies and he responded with his personal back of cocktail napkin calculations of the supposed subsidies rather than any reliable sources about them. One of his claims was that Fukushima cost $2 trillion! How bizarre.

        • Brian Mays says:

          Real person or just an annoying bot?

          Village idiot.

        • Jeff Walther says:

          I tend to believe he is a paid troll, because he consistently repeats lies from the standard play-book of anti-nuclear deceptions and is completely impervious to external input.

          In other words, he has a list of talking points of anti-nuclear propaganda. He repeats those same points ad naseum. He never changes. Just keeps repeating those same lies over and over.

          About what you’d want in a paid troll. Keep your message visible, no matter how wrong, because most folks only read the thesis and don’t check the argument for validity.

  9. Eino says:

    From WHO website:

    5 September 2005 | Geneva – A total of up to 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) accident nearly 20 years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded.

    As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.

    From Bloomberg News:

    And what of the lasting threat from radiation? Remarkably, outside the immediate area of Fukushima, this is hardly a problem at all. Although the crippled nuclear reactors themselves still pose a danger, no one, including personnel who worked in the buildings, died from radiation exposure. Most experts agree that future health risks from the released radiation, notably radioactive iodine-131 and cesiums-134 and – 137, are extremely small and likely to be undetectable.

    Yeh, The Truth is Out There

    The Giant Ants in the 1950s movies were real!

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      I just finished reading this piece on Cs-137 deposition around Fukushima and had to note that 100 kBq is 2.7 μCi.  They use a very tiny unit to make a small amount look like a big amount.

      I’d like to see some studies on the migration of this Cs-137 through the soil, and the effect of the addition of potash on the distribution and radiation emissions at the surface.  If all they have to do to make the area safe is dose the grass with weed-and-feed… can you imagine the brouhaha?

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