The history of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes and Standards tells us that they were a response in 1915 by the ASME to reduce the numerous explosive failures in the 19th Century that resulted in personnel injury and death, in addition to extensive property loss. The number and scope of ASME Pressure Vessel and Piping Codes and Standards have been issued to cover various applications and operating conditions as the needs have been identified. In the 1970’s, the subcommittee on high pressure technology of the OAC (Operations Applications Components) committee of the ASME Pressure Vessel and Piping Division petitioned the ASME Codes and Standards Council to form a standards committee to prepare a High Pressure Systems Standard that addresses the establishment of a performance criteria and protection criteria for the pressure system. A risk based criterion was provided as a basis for determining if the system design application (siting) exceeds or needs improved reliability for the safety of personnel. The Section 6000 (as well as Sections 1000 to 5000) was begun with a draft outline in 1981 and approved in 2002. Section 6000 “Hazardous Release Protection” of the HPS standard provides a risk based criterion to assess the pressure system internal and external kinetic energy and degenerative hazards and permits a number of ways to lower risk to personnel and structures (e.g., redesign of the pressure system, protection (reduction of consequences), improved inspection (reduction of event probability), etc.). The types of hazards considered are: pressure waves, missiles, foundation motion, radiant heat/fireballs, fire, biological effects, chemical effects, and ionizing radiation. This paper briefly examines: the history of the development of Section 6000, the motivating safety issues, the scope and intent of the various paragraphs of the ASME Section 6000 of the High Pressure System (HPS) standard, its relationship to Sections 1000 to 5000 of the HPS, and some incidences of system failures which identify a need for guidance regarding tolerable risk, other guidelines, standard and code development, and some references that document its development.

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