Transmitters operating in the radio-frequency (RF) spectrum create the potential for accidental detonation of electroexplosive devices (EEDs). This risk is magnified with the widespread use of EEDs in oil and gas-well perforating services, the potential for an EED to be ballistically connected to other explosives, and the proliferation of radio transmitters.
To prevent accidental detonations while using an EED in such an environment, one or more safety strategies are necessary. At least three different strategies—radio silence, site risk analysis, and RF-immune EED—have been used over the past 50 years. All three, when properly implemented, are successful in improving safety during EED use, but each strategy has the potential for disaster when not fully implemented.
This paper reviews the RF environment and the potential for accidental detonation of an EED caused by RF energy. It describes the problems and risks associated with the strategies of radio silence, site risk analysis, and RF-immune EEDs, and explains how the key elements of each strategy address these issues.