From The Handbook of Hazardous Materials Spills Technology

Chapter List

Chapter 40: Long-Range Consequences of a Major Ammonia Accident at Ionava, Lithuania, in 1989
Chapter 41: Historical Analysis of Natural Gas Accidents
Chapter 42: Flixborough The Disaster and its Aftermath
Chapter 43: Chemical Spills At Sea Case Studies
Jaakko Kukkonen, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Air Quality Research
Helsinki, Finland


We evaluated the atmospheric dispersion of ammonia released in a major chemical accident near the town of Ionava in central Lithuania. The course of the accident has been briefly described by Kletz (1991). More detailed reports have been prepared by the Lithuanian State Committee for Environmental Protection (1989) and by Andersson (1991). For a more complete description of this study, the reader is referred to Kukkonen et al. (1993).

The accident occurred at the chemical plant Azot, which produces mainly fertilizers. This plant is situated about 5 km northeast of the town of Ionava. A 10,000-ton-capacity tank containing 7,000 tons of refrigerated ammonia at its boiling point ( ?33 C) split without warning. The rupture was caused by an erroneous filling of the tank with relatively warm (+10 C) liquid ammonia, which formed a layer at the base of the tank. The warm ammonia then suddenly rose to the surface and evaporated, and the pressure rise overwhelmed the relief valves.

The liquid ammonia released formed a pool that was 70 cm deep in places. According to the chemical plant itself, about 1,400 tons of the spilled liquid ammonia evaporated. The pool caught fire, and the fire spread to a...

Products & Services
Industrial Gases
Industrial gases are pure elements, molecular compounds or mixtures that are gaseous or vaporous at room temperature and pressure.
Refrigerants, Antifreezes, and Cooling Liquids
Primary refrigerants use a thermodynamic or adiabatic process (evaporation-condensation cycles) to remove heat and cool a region. Secondary refrigerants such as antifreeze liquids provide cooling solely through heat transfer.
Chemical Process and Petrochemical Gases

Chemical process and petrochemical gases are materials used in the production of compounds or products. They are used in processes such as inerting, blanketing, purging, sparging, and stripping. These gases are used in many applications including treatment and sterilization, medicine, energy solutions, and manufacturing.

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Systems
Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems inject ammonia into boiler flue gas and pass it through a catalyst bed where the nitrogen oxide gas (NOx) and ammonia react to form nitrogen and water vapor.
Gas Compressors and Gas Compressor Systems
Gas compressors and gas compressor systems circulate gas through a process, enhance conditions for chemical reactions, provide inert gas for safety or control systems, recover and recompress process gas, and maintain correct pressure levels by either adding and removing gas or vapors from a process system.

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