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Atmospheric Pressure Releases: Which Require Dispersion Modeling?

By Dustin Smith, John Burgess and Thuc Ngo, Smith & Burgess Process Safety Consultants |

Dispersion modeling of atmospheric releases from pressure-relief valves and other sources can be time-consuming. Follow this screening process to categorize which installations require detailed modeling and focus effort where it is most consequential The safe design of atmospheric relief/venting systems is imperative in chemical and petrochemical facilities when pressure-relief systems are designed to release flammable or toxic materials directly to the atmosphere (as compared to a release to a flare or incinerator). Many facilities have the potential for atmospheric releases, either from existing installations or new designs that require simple discharge systems. Recent incidents and regulatory pressure have many facility designers asking the following questions: • How many relief valves in the facility vent to the atmosphere? • Are these relief valves safe? • Can we ensure that the relief installations meet the requirements for RAGAGEP (recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices)? To ensure that atmospheric discharges terminate at a “safe location,” as required by good engineering practices (for example, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes, section VIII UG-135(f)),…
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