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Braskem to maintain its polyvinyl chloride production

May 25/2011

(ICIS) -- Brazil-based Braskem will maintain its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production - even if that means purchasing feedstock - after the company idled a chlor-alkali unit following a chlorine leak and pipline rupture at its Maceio facility in Alagoas, the company said on Tuesday.

That chlor-alkali unit was the site of two recent accidents.  On Saturday, a chlorine leak at the site sickened 130 people, according to the Maceio Health State Office. Since then, 129 people have left the hospital.

On Monday, a plant pipeline burst, injuring five workers, according to a public relations firm for Braskem.

The Ministerio Public Federal (MPF)  and the Civil Police are investigating the leak and a pipeline burst. The MPF gave the company five days to explain what happened.

On Tuesday, the city council asked Braskem to explain the accident before both the community and the city council. However, the company did not show up. Meanwhile, Braskem will keep the chlor-alkali unit shut down, it said. The company gave no timeline on the length of the shutdown.

The Maceio unit has a capacity of 460 KTa of caustic soda. An ethylene dichloride (EDC) unit at Maceio has a capacity of 600 KTa.

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