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Egresó como Ingeniero Químico de la Universidad del Zulia (LUZ) en 1986. Realizó estudios de Postgrado: Maestría en Ingeniería Química en LUZ (1992) y Doctorado en Ingeniería Química en Texas A&M University (2002). Actualmente es Profesora Titular de la Escuela de Ingeniería Química de la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Universidad del Zulia, Jefe del Departamento de Ingeniería Bioquímica, Coordinadora del Programa de Doctorado en Ingeniería y Representante de los Profesores al Consejo Universitario.

julio 29, 2009

Several agencies investigate Citgo fire

— The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is sending a four-person team to investigate Sunday’s fire at Citgo’s East Plant that critically injured an employee.

The board, an independent federal agency, in a given year investigates the top 10 to 15 most serious industrial chemical incidents in the country. It does not issue citations or fines, but does make safety recommendations to industry organizations and regulatory agencies.

The agency considers Citgo’s fire a priority because of a hydrogen fluoride alkylation unit involved, said agency spokesman Daniel Horowitz. Hydrogen fluoride is a colorless, fuming liquid or gas with a strong irritating odor.

“Hydrogen fluoride is a very dangerous substance,” Horowitz said. “The line that ruptured is connected to a line through which hydrogen fluoride passes. We plan to find out how much hydrogen fluoride was released and how to prevent an incident from happening again.”

As of Monday afternoon, the unit continued to burn residual hydrocarbons. Citgo officials say it is under control and poses no threat to the community.

The incident injured 34-year-old Gabriel Alvarado, who was listed in critical condition at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, a hospital spokeswoman said. Additional information on his injuries was not released by the hospital or refiner.

Also conducting investigations are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which has had personnel on site since Sunday. The commission is conducting an environmental investigation to determine the emissions and amount of emissions that were released, spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said.

OSHA is investigating the safety aspects and how the fire began.

According to Citgo’s initial report to the state agency, the incident released more than 5,000 pounds of butane and hydrocarbons and more than 100 pounds of hydrogen fluoride. The refiner also released the substance during incidents in 1996 and 1997.

In 1996, the refinery released between 40 and 100 pounds of hydrogen fluoride. The 1997 incident released about 100 pounds of hydrogen fluoride and spurred two lawsuits.

Hydrogen Fluoride

Also known as hydrofluoric acid

• Used in the refining and aluminum industry, nuclear applications and the making of fluorocarbons

• Can use less of it for refining because it keeps its concentration

• Extremely dangerous. Fatal. Stops breathing. Stops the heart. Corrodes tissue including internal tissues

• Heavy vapor. Hangs low to ground. Disperses slowly. Can travel long distances

Fuente:Caller-Times archives en

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