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Prague Gas Explosion Highlights Aging Pipeline Danger

Matt Ball on April 29, 2013 - in Emergency, Pipelines

A powerful explosion in Prague, Czech Republic, has damaged an office building, leaving up to 40 people injured. The blast highlights the danger from ageing, leaky gas pipelines around the world. The blast occurred at around 08:00 GMT. It is not certain what caused it, but Czech police say it was most likely a gas leak.

Aging infrastructure such as pipelines is becoming a major problem in many developed countries, says Nathan Phillips of Boston University. By driving around Boston and San Francisco with sensors in his car, Phillips has identified thousands of gas leaks (Environmental Pollution, DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2012.11.003). “For older cities it’s a systemic problem and it needs attention,” he says. So far there is not enough data to determine which countries’ infrastructure is leakiest. Most new pipelines are made of plastic, which is much less leaky than metal. However it’s not clear how long plastic pipes will last, so Phillips says new pipelines should be fitted with sensors that issue warnings when they are leaking.

Read more via NewScientist

Matt Ball

About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is founder and editorial director of V1 Media, publisher of Informed Infrastructure, Earth Imaging Journal, Sensors & Systems, Asian Surveying & Mapping and the video news site GeoSpatial Stream.

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