Wacker gives update Charleston plant explosion

Wacker gives update on Charleston plant explosion

6:30 AM, 21st September 2017
Clouds billow from the Wacker polysilicon chemical plant after an explosion released a hydrogen chemical gas in Charleston. Photo by Times Free Press.
Clouds billow from the Wacker polysilicon chemical plant after an explosion released a hydrogen chemical gas in Charleston. Photo by Times Free Press.

MUNICH, GERMANY/ CHARLESTON, US: Wacker Chemie AG gives an update about the explosion at its US production site in Charleston, Tennessee. The explosion that was caused by a technical defect encouraging a leak of hydrogen which consequently caught fire, thus severely damaging a small, but important facility of the production plant.

Wacker has engaged an independent expert team to determine the root cause of the incident and is cooperating with governmental authorities to ensure a safe resumption of operations.

As already reported, an equipment malfunction led to a hydrogen explosion at the polysilicon production plant in Charleston, Tennessee. As a consequence, damaged piping leaked chlorosilane, a chemical that creates hydrogen chloride as it comes into contact with moisture in the air. Assisted by external emergency responders, the site’s firefighters immediately contained the chemical with water. During the incident, two site employees were evaluated at the local hospital and were released the same day. With the immediate action of all response teams involved, there was no risk to the community, the company said in a statement.

“While we are working diligently towards resuming production, the safety of our employees and the community is our top priority. So, production will not start until a thorough inspection is completed and it is certain that the facility is safe. From current view, restarting will take some months,” said Tobias Brandis, global president Wacker Polysilicon.

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