John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) - Executive Summary

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I.  Description of Center 
A.  Location 
The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), operated by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), is located near the Gulf of Mexico in western Hancock County, Mississippi, approximately 55 miles northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana and 30 miles west of Gulfport, Mississippi.  The facility consists of two areas totaling 138,801 acres.  The "Fee Area" encompasses approximately 13,800 acres and represents the gated area of SSC.  The "Buffer Zone" encompasses approximately 125,071 acres and extends in a five-mile radius around SSC.  The majority of the Buffer Zone is located in Hancock County, Mississippi with portions extending into Pearl River County, Mississippi and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.  A perpetual restrictive easement prohibiting dwelling construction covers the Buffer Zone for safety and acoustic considerations. 
B.  Purpose 
In 1996 SSC was officially named as the lead Center for Excellence in Large S 
ystems Propulsion Testing for NASA.  Four test stand areas are located onsite for a variety of rocket engine testing programs. 
C. Regulated Substances 
Various regulated substances are stored and used at SSC in support of rocket propulsion testing.  Liquid hydrogen, along with liquid oxygen, is used as fuel for rocket engine tests and is stored in various tanks onsite.  Six of these tanks contain hydrogen in amounts that exceed the threshold quantity (TQ) for hydrogen set by the Risk Management Program (RMP).  In addition, chlorine (used for potable water treatment), diesel fuel, gasoline, hydrogen peroxide (used for rocket testing), 1,1,1 trichloroethane, nitric acid and sodium hydroxide (all three used for rocket component cleaning operations) are stored onsite in quantities below RMP TQ limits. 
II.  Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policy 
SSC in accordance with regulatory guidelines as a user of hazardous materials, oil products and a generator of hazardous w 
aste must operate in a manner that protects human health and minimizes the possibility of a fire, explosion, or release of substances into the environment.  
SSC maintains equipment onsite to facilitate a rapid response to ensure release mitigation efforts are implemented in a timely manner to protect human health and environment. Additionally, mutual aid agreements are in place to obtain emergency assistance from local agencies/authorities. Copies and revisions of the SSC Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) are forwarded to the mutual aid agencies. 
The SSC Fire Department is the First Responder for incidents at the Center. To promote the SSC commitment to the protection of human health and the environment, a number of multi-disciplinary personnel are now trained in hazardous materials (HazMat) and/or hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) to assist the First Responders in the event of a serious incident. 
III.  Worst-case Scenarios 
Six tanks onsite contain liqui 
d hydrogen in amounts exceeding the TQ limit for liquid hydrogen.  Three of the tanks are used for storage and three are run tanks located on the test stands for rocket testing.  All offsite consequence analysis (OCA) was performed using NASA guidance documents for quantity distance (QD) analysis.  The QD values were calculated using the cube root scaling law (Sach's Law).  In all the scenarios, the complete contents of each tank were assumed released in a vapor cloud explosion.  The six worst-case scenarios are summarized below.   
SSC worst-case scenarios 

Tank size (gal): 20,000 
Configuration: storage tank 
Offsite Effects: none 

Tank size (gal): 600,000 
Configuration: storage tank 
Offsite Effects: none 

Tank size (gal): 50,000 
Configuration: storage tank 
Offsite Effects: none 

Tank size (gal): 110,000 
Configuration: run tank 
Offsite Effects: none 

Tank size (gal): 110,000 
Configuration: run tank 
Offsite Effects: none 

Tank size (gal): 90,000 
Configuration: run tank 
te Effects: none 
IV.  Accidental Release Prevention Program 
The SSC Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) addresses the prevention and control of hazardous material releases.  Specifically, the ICP contains as an annex the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC), which details the prevention of and response to accidental releases.  The ICP was prepared in accordance with regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations summarized below. 
ICP related regulations 
14 CFR 1216        NASA Environmental Quality 
29 CFR 1910.120    OSHA HAZWOPER 
40 CFR 110        Discharge of Oil 
40 CFR 112        Oil Pollution Prevention 
40 CFR 116        Designation of Hazardous Substances 
40 CFR 117        Determination of Reportable Quantities for Hazardous             Substances 
40 CFR 260        Hazardous Waste Management System: General 
40 CFR 261        Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste 
40 CFR 262        Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste 
40 CFR 265        Subpart D - Contingency Plan and Emergency Procedures 
40 CFR  
279        Standards for the Management of Used Oil 
40 CFR 300        National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution             Contingency    Plan 
40 CFR 302        Designation, Reportable Quantities and Notification 
40 CFR 355        Emergency Planning and Notification 
40 CFR 372        Toxic Chemical Release Reporting: Community Right-to-            Know 
49 CFR 171-180    Department of Transportation, Hazardous Materials             Regulations 
In addition to the ICP, various procedures and site-specific parameters ensure release prevention, or at least make the potential minimal.  Access to SSC is limited by security at two permanently manned gates.  All regulated bulk storage facilities have secondary containment or other controls to capture releases.  All above ground storage tanks are either double walled or equipped with impervious secondary containment.  All under ground storage tanks are double walled and maintained in accordance with EPA protocol.  All personnel involved with the storage and transfer of hazardous material are traine 
d in spill prevention and control.  Inspections are performed on a regular basis on all tanks and other storage and transfer systems.  Finally, all operations are performed using written procedures to minimize the possibility of accidental release. 
V.  Five Year Accident History 
SSC has had two accidents in the last five years involving liquid hydrogen fuel operations.  In both accidents, an explosion/fire occurred in a vent line, which then vented burning hydrogen to the atmosphere.  In the February 9, 1995 accident, the fire was extinguished after four hours and twenty minutes and the property damage was estimated at $134,000.  In the February 8, 1996 accident, the fire was extinguished after two hours and fifty minutes and the property damage was estimated at $150,000.  No one onsite or offsite was injured in either accident, no offsite consequences occurred and all released hydrogen was consumed in both fires. 
VI.  Emergency Response 
Emergency response is an integral component  
of onsite emergency plans.  Specifically, the SSC ICP contains established procedures for the preparation for and response to releases of oil and other hazardous materials.  The ICP classifies emergency extent, details response procedures for solid, liquid and atmospheric releases, establishes a full notification system (ranging from onsite contacts to the state and federal level), establishes a response management system and contains a summary of structures and facilities.   
SSC has an established onsite fire department trained to respond to all site emergencies.  In addition, a mutual aid agreement with seven local fire departments is in place.  An onsite medical clinic is available for onsite emergencies.  Higher level medical assistance has been coordinated with six area hospitals.   
Personnel certified in HAZWOPER include the NASA Environmental Office, the Fire Department, the Environmental Health division, the Environmental Laboratory and the Medical Clinic.  All certified pers 
onnel are required to attend yearly refresher training.  The Fire Department independently conducts training and drills on a scheduled basis. 
An air horn system has been installed onsite for audible warning of site emergencies. 
VII.  Planned Safety Improvements 
All onsite programs, plans and procedures are reviewed at specified periodic intervals, with safety and environmental issues evaluated.  The ICP is updated annually; this year the Risk Management Plan was added.  All site design reviews are required to include safety and environmental representation.  SSC has designated an Environmental Working Group, which meets quarterly, to discuss onsite environmental issues and problems.
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