An offgas system mishap involved two explosions occurring within an interval of about 3 ½ hours. The first offgas explosion was reportedly caused by a welding operation on an air line adjacent to a hydrogen sensor line containing off gas. The welding arc initiated a detonation within the offgas piping. The detonation was contained by the piping system but blew out the water seal at the base of the vent stack.The second hydrogen explosion in this incident occurred in the stack base area. Hydrogen accumulated in the enclosed base area after the water seal had been blown in the first explosion. The stack base metal door was blown off its hinges from the second explosion, and the reinforced concrete stack was also damaged. A plant employee walking by the stack at the time of the explosion was struck by debris and was hospitalized.

Incident Date
Dec 31, 1969
  • Piping/Fittings/Valves
  • Piping
  • Hand Tools
  • Crafts Tools
Damage and Injuries
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

This incident illustrates the danger of hydrogen being inadvertently released through blown water seals. Similar incidents have occurred in non-nuclear industrial facilities, but offgas systems present a special hazard because of the stoichiometric proportions of the offgas mixture.