|CHARACTERISTICS AND COMMON VULNERABILITIES INFRASTRUCTURE CATEGORY: CHEMICAL FACILITIES||SENSITIVE HOMELAND SECURITY INFORMATION – LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE||September 22, 2003||Download|
|POTENTIAL INDICATORS OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY INFRASTRUCTURE CATEGORY: CHEMICAL FACILITIES||SENSITIVE HOMELAND SECURITY INFORMATION – LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE||September 22, 2003||Download|
While hazardous and nonhazardous chemicals are stored and used in many industries, the focus
of this report is specific to facilities that manufacture chemicals. A chemical manufacturing
facility comprises upstream components, process units, downstream components, and product
storage. The chemical manufacturing process can be further divided into the following five
stages, each of which may contain one or more processing activities: (1) receipt of chemical
ingredients, (2) temporarily staging or storing chemical ingredients awaiting use in production,
(3) processing chemical ingredients into product, (4) temporarily staging or storing chemical
products awaiting shipment, and (5) shipping chemical products. A chemical may not present
a security hazard during all activities; for example, a hazardous chemical may be converted to
a nonhazardous material during production. One way to determine which processing activities
provide the potential for an undesired event is to review the following attributes for each activity.
The United States (U.S.) chemical manufacturing industry produces approximately
15,000 commercial chemicals in large quantities. The largest three segments of the industry are
organic, inorganic, and agricultural chemicals. Table 1 highlights the typical plant size and
regional concentrations found in each segment. Although many facilities are small, those that
are large are typically very large and contain many integrated processes.
Organic and inorganic chemicals industries obtain raw materials from petroleum and mined
products, respectively, and convert them to intermediate materials or basic finished chemicals.
Organic, or carbon-containing, chemicals account for most of the large-quantity commercial
chemicals. This class of chemicals is of interest to terrorists because it includes many of the toxic
and hazardous chemicals that are precursors to, or can be used directly as, chemical weapons.
A subclass of inorganic chemicals known as chlor-alkali includes chlorine and caustic soda,
which may be of interest to terrorists because of the hazardous nature of these materials and the
damaging health effects that chlorine can cause if inhaled. Finally, agricultural chemicals are
attractive to terrorists because this group includes herbicides and pesticides, which can form the
basis for chemical weapons, and nitrogenous fertilizers, which have frequently been used as
improvised explosive devices (e.g., ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oil).