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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dodging a bullet

The words "Everett" and "gas" seeped through the brain fog this morning. Those thoughts were quickly followed by relief after absorbing that scenario that was made for Jack Bauer at 24.

Think about it: two buildings, 21 cars all destroyed by a wall of flames rolling from an overturned gasoline tanker carrying 9,400 gallons of fuel. A speeding driver, not carrying proper documentation.

Miracle doesn't begin to describe the lack of injuries.

Now, add the words "liquefied natural" to the equation. Make the tanker a ship instead of a truck, the ship working its way up the Mystic River to the Everett LNG terminal.

It's really is a Jack Bauer nightmare.
(A) study concluded that attacks on an LNG vessel would create a rupture of between 6 and 39 feet. It used a 16-foot hole as a standard measure. The study said a spill from a 16-foot hole, if ignited, would create a thermal blast that would set buildings on fire and melt steel out to 1,281 feet and give people second-degree burns up to 4,282 feet away. A 39-foot rupture would burn buildings out to 1,975 feet and burn people up to 6,299 feet away -- well over a mile. The worst-case scenario measured by the report was three 16-foot holes. That would set structures aflame out to 2,067 feet and burn people as far as 6,949 feet away.
Yet the Bush administration believes our ports are secure and federal Homeland Security money is no longer needed.

Let's consider ourselves duly warned. Next time, the firefighters from Everett and 15 surrounding communities may not be so lucky.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Key word is "If Ignited." Liquefied Natural Gas is very hard to ignite.

An LNG tanker was hit by a missile during Gulf War I, and it did not explode.

December 06, 2007 4:04 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

You are correct. Nevertheless, I would hate to test the hypothesis in an urban environment!

December 06, 2007 7:47 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Liquified natural gas does not ignite because it is too rich. However, the vapors which are regular old natural gas (methane), are constantly being created and ignite happily around 1000 degrees F. (butane in your lighter is about 700 something degrees.) Your cars exhaust is well hotter than 1000 degrees. Here's the good part. LNG is cryogenic liquid, it's around -260 F. The warmer the atmosphere around the lng, the faster it vaporizes. Even 50 degree sea water causes it to vaporize very quickly. Also, the expansion rate is 600:1. 1 cubic/ft lng = 600 cu/ft of natural gas. If a tanker was leaking LNG into the harbor, I don't think it would take too long for the huge vapor cloud to reach some ignition source.

To address your second point, the wrong missle was used in the attack on the tanker. The right one, armor piercing or anti-tank or whatever is out there somewhere.

December 07, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks for setting me and others straight with the scientific facts.

December 08, 2007 9:54 AM  

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