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PEER Seminar Series, July 24, 2017: Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Petrochemical Plants under Seismic Loading

photo of Cosmo fire

Cosmo Refinery, Chiba, Japan
2011 Tohoku Earthquake

The vulnerability of the urbanized territory against Na-Tech events represents a strategic issue because of the general unpreparedness of the countries in predicting effects and consequences in the aftermath of a disaster. Despite the continuous evolution of knowledge on this matter, there is lack of information about possible procedures to predict damage propagation within a process plant and in the surrounding areas, and the quantification of the risk under Na-Tech events.

The effects of earthquakes on chemical plants is important, as demonstrated by the recent 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, where many industrial plants suffered losses from damage. It is known that the classical Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) methods cannot be applied to evaluate consequences in case of earthquakes, because of the presence of multi-damage conditions in multiple equipment, and the generation of multiple-chains of events and consequences. In literature, several attempts to modify the classic QRA approach have been formalized but without converging toward a unified approach.

In this seminar, a new tool for the probabilistic risk assessment methodology for petrochemical plants under seismic loading is illustrated, which is based on Monte Carlo simulations. Specifically, starting from the seismic hazard curve of the site, a multi-level approach is proposed, in which the first level is represented by the components seismically damaged, and the following levels are treated through a classical consequence analysis that includes propagation of multiple simultaneous and interacting chains of accidents. The procedure has been implemented in PRIAMUS software, which assumes that the accident may be represented by a sequence of propagation “levels”. With a series of automatically generated samples of damage propagation scenarios, the risk of the plant can be easily quantified. The application of this method to a petrochemical plant shows the potential of the method and envisages possible further evolutions.

Date: Monday, July 24, 2017
Time: 2 – 3pm
Location: 325 Davis Hall Conference Room

PRESENTER: Fabrizio_PaolacciFabrizio Paolacci, Assistant Professor Structural Engineering, Roma Tre University, Department of Engineering, has scientific interests in: a) performance-based design of steel-concrete composite bridges, b) assessment and reduction of the seismic risk of reinforced concrete buildings and bridges, c) seismic risk of major-hazard industrial plants and applicability of innovative protection systems (base isolation and energy dissipation), d) seismic vulnerability of high-voltage electric networks and substations and applicability of innovative protection systems, and e) passive and semi-active control of structures. He has long-standing experience in the management of research projects of experimental assessment of the seismic response of structures, and he is currently PI of many European projects. From 2008 to 2013 he assumed the role of scientific coordinator of the Laboratory of Testing Materials and Structures of the Department of Structures at the University Roma Tre. He received a fellowship provided by CNR (National Research Council) for research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley from September 1999 to February 2000 as visiting scholar. He graduated in Civil Engineering in 1992 at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and received his Ph.D. in Structural Engineering in 1997. He is author of more than 100 publications in international journals and conferences.