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Abstract

Case histories of 65 incidents in runaway reactions and emergency relief in Taiwan were analyzed and classified into several categories according to their causes, materials involved, equipment types, reaction types, and ignition sources. The cases in reactors and storage tanks were examined in more detail owing to the higher probability or larger potential hazard in these two types of equipments. The most common consequence of the incidents are explosions, fires, and atmospheric release of toxic chemicals. The most severe case was a thermal explosion from an organic peroxide storage area which caused the death of 33 persons. Popping and direct releasing of process chemicals to the atmosphere from relieving devices cause the greatest environmental concerns to the community close to the plants. Runaway reactions in batch type reactors occur frequently due to various operational mistakes. Heat of reaction is the most frequent ignition source of runaway reactions and emergency relief.