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Automating Risk Assessments of Hazardous Material Shipments for Transportation Routes and Mode Selection

[+] Author Affiliations
B. H. Dolphin, W. D. Richins, S. R. Novascone

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. IMECE2010-38880, pp. 59-63; 5 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2010-38880
From:
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 13: Sound, Vibration and Design
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4450-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME

abstract

The METEOR (Model to Evaluate Transportation Effects of Risk) project at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) successfully addresses the difficult problem in risk assessment analyses of combining the results from bounding deterministic simulation results with probabilistic (Monte Carlo) risk assessment techniques. This paper describes a software suite designed to perform sensitivity and cost/benefit analyses on selected transportation routes and vehicles to minimize risk associated with the shipment of hazardous materials. METEOR uses Monte Carlo techniques to estimate the probability of an accidental release of a hazardous substance along a proposed transportation route. A METEOR user selects the mode of transportation, origin and destination points, and charts the route using interactive graphics. Inputs to METEOR (many selections built in) include crash rates for the specific aircraft, soil/rock type and population densities over the proposed route, and bounding limits for potential accident types (velocity, temperature, etc.). New vehicle, materials, and location data are added when available. If the risk estimates are unacceptable, the risks associated with alternate transportation modes or routes can be quickly evaluated and compared. Systematic optimizing methods will provide the user with the route and vehicle selection identified with the lowest risk of hazardous material release. The effects of a selected range of potential accidents such as vehicle impact, fire, fuel explosions, excessive containment pressure, flooding, etc. are evaluated primarily using hydrocodes capable of accurately simulating the material response of critical containment components. Bounding conditions that represent credible accidents (i.e., for an impact event, velocity, orientations, and soil conditions) are used as input parameters to the hydrocode models yielding correlation functions relating accident parameters to component damage. The Monte Carlo algorithms use random number generators to make selections at the various decision points such as crash, location, etc. For each pass through the routines, when a crash is randomly selected, crash parameters are then used to determine if failure has occurred using either external look up tables, correlations functions from deterministic calculations, or built in data libraries. The effectiveness of the software was recently demonstrated in safety analyses of the transportation of radioisotope systems for the US Dept. of Energy. These methods are readily adaptable to estimating risks associated with a variety of hazardous shipments such as spent nuclear fuel, explosives, and chemicals.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME

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