Vigilance in temperature monitoring is vital within many industries whose processes depend on temperature stability. But in settings such as nuclear reactor facilities, chemical processing plants and petroleum plants, temperature assurance is critical.
The importance of the proper management and monitoring of temperatures within the fuel and energy industries cannot be emphasized enough. A malfunctioning temperature indicator or sensor can lead to injuries, death or even disaster. Situations like these have been well-documented over the years. And more often than not, errors or some degree of negligence in the area of temperature monitoring were at the center of a major mishap.
Nuclear Power Plants
The 1986 Chernobyl and 1979 Three Mile Island cases reminded the world how important precise and responsible temperature monitoring is within this industry. Rods are lowered and raised into the core of a nuclear reactor for cooling purposes and to decrease any threat that it may overheat. Especially in the catastrophic Chernobyl incident, a meltdown occurred when core temperatures reached unmanageable levels.
Chemical Processing Plants
In Pascagoula, MS in 2002 an explosion at the First Chemical Corporation plant injured three and caused a series of fires. The improper monitoring of a distillation tower’s internal temperatures was cited as the key cause of this accident. Chemical plants depend upon processing and storing chemicals at specific temperatures due to their volatility.
In a 1997 case in California, an explosion occurred at an oil refinery causing one death and 46 injuries. Poor design of temperature measuring systems and a questionable control room configuration were attributed to the calamity.
There is a distilling process in the refining of oil which requires that a certain temperature be attained in order for each hydrocarbon to be separately boiled out of the crude oil. Precision temperature sensors and consistently accurate monitoring, recording and reporting of temperatures are vital to an operation such as this.
These incidents drive the point home that within these potentially volatile industries, lives, property and in some cases generations are at risk if proper temperature monitoring and reporting is not strictly adhered to.