The above described events are an indication of a potential licensee/vendor interface problem. Based on the information received, the vendor was not completely informed via the purchase specifications regarding the service condition to which the valve would be exposed. Further, all users of these valves were not notified of the initial problem through either oversight by the vendor or as a result of the valves being supplied through an intermediate source. To avoid similar incidents in the future, onsite personnel need to ensure that their vendors receive comprehensive specifications relating to the application, use and service conditions associated with all of the stainless steel valves implemented in applications susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement.
A web-based resource developed by Sandia National Laboratories to provide data on hydrogen embrittlement of various materials is available at Technical Reference for Hydrogen Compatibility of Materials.