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NTSB: Railcar in Chlorine Leak Had 46-Inch Crack

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National Transportation Safety Board
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Tank car AXLX 1702 after chlorine release.

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board says the design of a railcar that leaked chlorine at a New Martinsville plant had been under scrutiny.

The NTSB issued the preliminary report Monday detailing the Aug. 27 chlorine gas spill at the Axiall Natrium plant.

The report describes a 46-inch-long crack on one end of the tank car that leaked, located on a part called the "stub sill." Ninety tons of chlorine were released from the crack.

The tank was built in 1981 and had a particular "sub sill" underframe called an ACF 200. In 2006, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory that noted "defects in some tank cars equipped with the ACF 200 sub sills," including cracks.

Axiall Corp. spokesman Chip Swearingen says the company is fully cooperating with the NTSB.

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