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Title:Factors affecting probabilistic risk assessment of transportation of hazardous material by rail
Author(s):Kuprianczyk, Christopher Andrew
Department / Program:Nuclear, Plasma, & Rad Engr
Discipline:Nuclear, Plasma, Radiolgc Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Transportation of hazardous material by rail is a fundamental infrastructural operation performed on a large scale within the United States yearly. Material release is a possibility associated with shipment failure that incurs large costs, and thus minimizing probability of release is of high importance. The approach to minimize this risk varies based on the type of material being transported. This thesis focuses on a comparison of risk analysis, risk perception, and regulation of highly radioactive material (spent nuclear fuel / high level radioactive waste) and flammable liquid material (with an emphasis on crude oil due to the high yearly volume of transport) being transported by rail. In this thesis, a probabilistic risk assessment of the hazardous material transportation operations by rail is performed. This assessment yields risk importance measures for major failure (here meaning material release). The results indicate that prevention of derailment itself is the most important risk reduction measure, followed by preservation of the structural integrity of containers, should derailment occur. However, various factors affect the perception of operational risk. These factors depend on the type of hazardous material being transported, thereby affecting the perceived failure probability and associated costs of failure. Four factors affecting risk perception are identified, and their effects on parameters within the risk assessment are analyzed. These factors are natural versus industrial risks, chronic versus catastrophic risks, familiar versus unfamiliar risks, and risks managed by trustworthy versus untrustworthy sources. Improving risk perception can be done by implementing a consent-based approach and by educating the public about the transported hazardous materials. Regulation of transportation operations is one approach by which risk can be minimized. In this thesis, an analysis of rail regulations is made with a focus on comparing the relative regulatory stringency for radioactive material and flammable liquid material shipments. The regulations analyzed are those that differ between the two material classes. The regulations affecting standard operation, such as speed, train size, and brake systems, are more stringent for flammable liquid carrying trains. Regulations concerning hypothetical accident conditions (drop, puncture, thermal, and immersion) are stricter for containers of radioactive material. A more integrated probabilistic risk assessment would likely strike a different balance between regulatory requirements for flammable liquids and radioactive materials, but implementing any such approach would need to account for how factors affecting risk perception affect the rulemaking process.
Issue Date:2016-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Christopher Kuprianczyk
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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