From 1953 to now, it has happened six times so-called red oil explosion accidents worldwide, resulting in different degrees of equipment and construction damage and environmental contamination. And research related to red oil has never stopped. Preventive measures for red oil explosion were established in some reports, and these measures provided good practice experience and reference for other countries. Nevertheless, research conclusions and knowledge of red oil vary from country to country. Especially, investigations on stability of tributyl phosphate (TBP)—nitric system was made in recent years, and the results indicated that the red oil runway reaction will happen even in lower temperature and lower nitric acid concentration in contrast with the reported value. Therefore, in order to facilitate future study on red oil explosion, related research results of red oil explosion accidents were combed in this paper, and the characters of study work of different periods were also summarized, and definition, formation conditions of red oil were analyzed and compared, as well as the new viewpoints of recent literatures.

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