Managing industrial accident risks in the Nanomaterials value Chain

Abstract : Nanomaterials industry is developing, with significant amounts of materials already being produced and transported and many new applications under development. As for any industrial activity, the whole nanomaterials value chain present a series of risks, that include accident risks. Due to specific properties of nanomaterials the management of these risks raises a number of issues that need to be solved in order to ensure a sustainable development of this promising industry and waive concerns that may arise among populations and workers. The present study was focused on nano powders, which exhibit the highest hazards. For each step of the value chain, a generic risk analysis allows to identify the main accidental scenarios that need to be taken into account : fire, explosion, massive releases and dispersion. For each scenario, it identifies the key aspects that need to be considered in the risk assessment process and the limits of currently available tools. This includes issues relative to the characterization of hazardous properties such as flammability, explosivity, dustiness, toxicity and eco-toxicity. But it also considers the limitations of existing models for air dispersion, fire and explosion modelling. The issues raised by engineering controls that can be implemented to limit risks are also outlined. A last part of the paper is dedicated to presenting some of the solutions that are presently being developed to overcome these limitations. The first aspect refers to the characterization of physico-chemical hazards for which recent works have lead to a better understanding of the influence of agglomeration proceses of the explosion violence1 . They also resulted into recommendations for testing protocols which are now proposed in dedicated standardization committees. Recent advances in modelling dispersion of nanoparticles resulting from a breach in a pneumatic transport pipe2 are also briefly described as an illustration of a more general approach to better estimate the potential consequences of Nanomaterials industry is developing, with significant amounts of materials already being produced and transported and many new applications under development. As for any industrial activity, the whole nanomaterials value chain present a series of risks, that include accident risks. Due to specific properties of nanomaterials the management of these risks raises a number of issues that need to be solved in order to ensure a sustainable development of this promising industry and waive concerns that may arise among populations and workers. The present study was focused on nano powders, which exhibit the highest hazards. For each step of the value chain, a generic risk analysis allows to identify the main accidental scenarios that need to be taken into account : fire, explosion, massive releases and dispersion. For each scenario, it identifies the key aspects that need to be considered in the risk assessment process and the limits of currently available tools. This includes issues relative to the characterization of hazardous properties such as flammability, explosivity, dustiness, toxicity and eco-toxicity. But it also considers the limitations of existing models for air dispersion, fire and explosion modelling. The issues raised by engineering controls that can be implemented to limit risks are also outlined. A last part of the paper is dedicated to presenting some of the solutions that are presently being developed to overcome these limitations. The first aspect refers to the characterization of physico-chemical hazards for which recent works have lead to a better understanding of the influence of agglomeration proceses of the explosion violence1 . They also resulted into recommendations for testing protocols which are now proposed in dedicated standardization committees. Recent advances in modelling dispersion of nanoparticles resulting from a breach in a pneumatic transport pipe2 are also briefly described as an illustration of a more general approach to better estimate the potential consequences of accidental events involving massive release of nanoparticles.
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Bruno Debray, Alexis Vignes, Ghislain Binotto, Yannick Ollier, Jean-Marc Lacome, et al.. Managing industrial accident risks in the Nanomaterials value Chain. Nanotech France 2017 Conference, Jun 2017, Paris, France. ⟨ineris-01864553⟩

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