An industrial hygienist tests air within the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant as nitrogen is introduced to plant systems in January.
A technician tests piping for leaks during a pressurization test ahead of gaseous nitrogen being introduced to Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant systems.
Technicians introduced gaseous nitrogen into the Blue Grass plant for the first time Jan. 25.
“Nitrogen is an inert gas we use for several different purposes, from displacing oxygen in systems to avoid combustion to blanketing process tanks to prevent oxygen from reacting with chemicals,” said Mike Kester, start-up supervisor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We use it on a pretty wide basis.”
As the nitrogen was introduced into the plant, the special projects and utilities teams monitored piping and repaired leaks as necessary, Kester said. Engineers and technicians worked closely with safety and industrial hygiene personnel to prevent accidents during the process.
“This is another big step that gets the plant that much closer to operations,” Kester said. “Now that this system is up and running properly, we can move on to more advanced testing.”
Liquid nitrogen is delivered to the plant and stored in tanks at very low temperatures, then vaporized and supplied to the plant as a gas as needed, Kester said. It will be used from the systemization, or testing, phase through the end of operations.