Project Jack Rabbit: chemical release trials to improve modeling, mitigation

Award Year 

In 2010, in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, Chemical Security Analysis Center, executed a series of highly instrumented, large-scale, chemical release field trials known as Project Jack Rabbit. Jack Rabbit developed critical data necessary to improve the modeling of toxic inhalation hazard chemicals (TIHs) released from accidents or terrorist attacks on chemical storage tanks or railcars. The web-based data repository, modeling data and methodologies, and training materials developed by Jack Rabbit resulted in new insights, enhanced training, and novel risk mitigation strategies for the chemical and railroad industries. (more)

The impetus for Jack Rabbit originated from congressional concerns over passage of 90-ton railcars filled with chlorine and other TIHs through metropolitan areas. Accidents resulting in loss of life from TIH releases continue to be periodic occurrences, and terrorists? interest in using weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical weapons, is well-documented. As with the events of September 11, 2001, the use of our own infrastructure as a weapon against us is a concern. TIHs such as chlorine and ammonia are transported around the country in bulk quantities daily and totaling tens of millions of tons annually.

The team transferred Jack Rabbit technology through four major trade associations representing hundreds of industrial members: the Chlorine Institute, the Ammonia Safety & Training Institute, The Fertilizer Institute, and the Association of American Railroads. Technology transfer occurred through presentations at industry meetings and training sessions; distribution of data, modeling and knowledge products through the Jack Rabbit website; and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

The transfer of the Jack Rabbit technology enables major risk reduction and cost avoidance for the U.S. chemical and railroad industries. The result of Jack Rabbit has been the transfer of lifesaving information, understanding, and methodology to industry.