Project Synopsis

Pre-startup design review of molten sodium processing facility.

Project Summary


The client had oversight for a recently constructed sodium processing system designed to melt elemental sodium and transport the molten sodium to drums for solidification and storage.  The drummed product was then to be shipped to a location across the country to be used in another application.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to perform a design review of the process just prior to startup.  PROCESS conducted the review in a HAZOP What-If fashion during a meeting that included design and operational representatives and summarized its findings in a letter report submitted to the client and the regulatory agency overseeing the project.

PROCESS had several concerns about design details that could not be verified prior to startup.  Chief among these was a secondary containment system designed to hold liquid sodium should the primary containment fail.  The decision was made by the operator to start up the process anyway, and primary and secondary containment failures resulted in loss of containment and a sodium fire.

PROCESS also participated in the post-incident investigation that verified the lack of detail engineering and detail engineering documentation prior to process startup.

Industry Type

  • Metals Processing

Utilized Skills

  • Process safety analysis
  • Independent design evaluation
  • Pre-startup design review
  • What-if HAZOP

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