Technical Defect Caused Chemical Release and Explosion at US Site in Charleston

Munich, Sep 08, 2017

At WACKER’s site in Charleston, Tennessee, a technical defect caused a chemical release and an explosion yesterday at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. CET). The event damaged pipes, resulting in a small, localized leak of chlorosilane. The site’s incident response team immediately contained the chemical with water. A water-vapor cloud formed, which had trace amounts of hydrogen chloride. Steam piping was also damaged, releasing additional water vapor into the air.

Two people were injured in the incident. One employee was transported to a local hospital for observation and another, a WACKER firefighter, was treated for symptoms of heat exhaustion and has been released.

Perimeter analytical measurements show no increase in emission levels. As a precautionary measure, production has been suspended at the affected facility, which produces polycrystalline silicon for the solar industry. WACKER is investigating conditions that led to the incident.