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  • Two UK coal mines to close with loss of 1,300 jobs

    27 March 2015

    Two of England's last deep coal mines are to close after they were refused further government funding. Owner UK Coal had wanted to extend the lives of the Kellingley pit in North Yorkshire and Thoresby in north Nottinghamshire by three years, but business minister Matthew Hancock said the £338m required to do that "does not represent value for money"....

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  • OSHA cites US Steel for willful violation in fatal Alabama plant explosion

    26 March 2015

    United States Steel Corp. has been cited by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for a willful violation and seven serious violations after the explosion at its Fairfield plant that killed two workers and injured a third last year. OSHA’s report into the incident said the was caused by opening and closing a high-pressure valve that contained oxygen and hydrated lime, with the furnace still in operation....

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  • Explosion kills one at French dairy products manufacturer

    25 March 2015

    One person has been killed and three injured following the explosion of a machine at the Senagral dairy plant at Jouy in central France. "During routine preventive maintenance work on a packaging machine, an explosion occurred, seemingly of a disinfectant cylinder on the machine, which led to the death of a maintenance worker," the company said in a statement....

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  • End of UK subsidies for large-scale solar could kill ambitious expansion targets - industry

    24 March 2015

    The falling cost of solar panels has caused the UK  government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. The price of solar panels has reduced by 70% in the past few years leading to economies of scale that could result in solar providing up to 4% of the UK's electricity by the end of the decade....

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  • Shell to receive US Government backing to resume Arctic exploration

    23 March 2015

    The US government is expected this week to give the go-ahead to controversial plans by Shell to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic. Sally Jewell, the Interior Secretary, will make a formal statement backing the decision as soon as March 25, the earliest point at which her department can confirm an approval given last month by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)....

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Think tank claims UK green energy costs far higher than stated 23 March 2015

The true cost of wind and other green power projects is far higher than the UK Government has admitted, a report from the Centre for Policy Studies think tank says, claiming renewable energy will be "the most expensive policy disaster in modern British history". The CPS estimates that UK consumers could save £214 a year by 2020 if green energy targets were scrapped and power was derived from gas-fired power plants instead. ...

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South Africa gold mine gas blast injures six 23 March 2015

Six construction workers were injured in a suspected methane gas explosion at Harmony Gold's Brand One ventilation shaft in Welkom, in South Africa’s Free State province on March 21.Matjhabeng Municipality Assistant Fire Chief Francois Klaassen said six people were injured and rushed to hospital in Welkom, and that a number of houses, vehicles and a shopping centre had been damaged....

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Three hospitalised after Canada chemical leak 23 March 2015

A leak of titanium tetrachloride from the Kronos chemical plant in the Montreal suburb of Varennes, led to a number of homes and industrial premises being evacuated on March 21. According to CBC News, three workers at a nearby factory were taken to hospital for treatment and two others were affected but not hospitalised. ...

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CSB releases report on likely causes of fatal explosion at Pennsylvania zinc refinery 20 March 2015

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has released the results of its investigation into the explosion and fire on July 22, 2010, at the Horsehead Corporation zinc refinery in Monaca, Pennsylvania, that killed two of its employees. The blast likely resulted from a build-up of superheated liquid zinc inside a ceramic zinc distillation column, which then "explosively decompressed" and ignited....

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UK Government to give new oil regulator power to fine companies 20 March 2015

The UK is to give its new oil and gas regulatory body the power to fine companies that breach oil and gas licenses up to 1 million pounds, the UK Treasury said on March 20. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is assigned to ensure offshore oil and gas producers do their best to retrieve as much as possible of Britain's remaining 24 billion barrels of reserves....

Features

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Securing automation systems – a step by step approach

The big problem when it comes to security for automation systems is that there are no simple solutions. This makes it all the more helpful when communication technology experts give users a hand by providing guidelines. Here, Prof. Dr. Frithjof Klasen of PROFIBUS evaluates some of the threats facing automation systems and possible ways to improve robustness, as well as giving details of new security guidelines. ...

Case Studies

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Custody Metering for electricity generation

When the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) commissioned a new natural gas-powered electricity generation plant in Aweer, a key consideration when ordering the Diagnostic Performance and Monitoring (DPM) software was its Custody Metering capabilities – where the mass of the gas and its calorific value is measured as it is supplied from the linked offshore gas field....

Comment

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Cybersecurity and plant safety

Cybersecurity for process plant operators made it into the headlines at the end of 2014 following the announcement by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that a cyberattack on one of the country’s steelworks had caused “massive damage”, wrecking a blast furnace at the un-named plant. At the same time, security investigators said they now consider the explosion of a Turkish oil pipeline in 2008 to have been caused by cyber-sabotage...

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