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RR908 - Vapour cloud formation: Experiments and modelling

Hazard analysis for overfilling of a tank with a volatile liquid is a complex and important problem but (prior to the Buncefield incident) had not been the subject of significant research effort. Since the incident HSE has sponsored a programme of experimental and modelling research to investigate the technical issues involved and develop methods of analysis.

The objective is that HSE, and industries responsible for filling tanks, will be in a position to agree on a reliable method to determine the character of the vapour cloud generated in the event of an overfill. This will allow appropriate consideration of the overfill scenario i.e fluid type, tank size, fill rate etc. to be taken into account in hazard assessments for land use planning and emergency planning purposes. HSE’s Vapour Cloud Assessment method is detailed in Appendix 1. Some example cases are worked through in this Appendix.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2012-02-13