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Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report

The Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report became public in January 2018. The story it tells is remarkably similar to the one we assumed, based on publicly available information in the aftermath of the accident. As risk advisers and managers we discuss below the various statements in the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report. We aim at highlighting risk biases and potential management changes to avoid similar developments. Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report Conclusions Commented The Independent Forensic Team Report made a number…

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Unrealistic risk assessment describing a rosy scenario

Keystone pipeline has spilled substantially more oil, and more often, than indicated in the risk assessments the company provided to regulators. But why and how a common risk assessment becomes an unrealistic risk assessment describing a rosy scenario? Indeed what regulators saw in the pre-construction project risk assessment was reportedly the following. “A spill of more than 50 barrels will occur “ not more than once every seven to 11 years over the entire length of the pipeline in the…

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Bringing value to projects and operations

Bringing value to projects and operations is a goal that many pursue. Today we will discuss reliability enhancements as a possible way to add value. What is reliability? Engineers generally define Reliability as the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well. Example: “the conveyor performance history gives me every confidence in its reliability” which basically means “I am not expecting a major failure”. So, in other words, if you get in your car, turn the ignition and the…

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Catastrophic dam failures path forward at Tailings and Mine Waste

The keynote lecture Catastrophic dam failures path forward at Tailings and Mine Waste Conference was an enlightening speech. Henry Brehaut corroborated the views Riskope have expressed over the last decade. The validity of our methodological developments is confirmed once again. We are pleased to comment and express some impressions from the keynote lecture. The message Henry Brehaut delivered includes looking at: getting things right, looking at details, identifying gaps and hidden flaws. Finally, reactive catastrophic failure analysis is not the optimum…

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UNEP Tailings Dams report and residual risk assessment

UNEP Tailings Dams report and residual risk assessment discusses the joint UNEP-GRID Arendal assessment entitled “Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident” from a risk assessment point of view. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released the report in October 2017 in Geneva. The report urges States and the industry to “end deadly and damaging mining waste spills by enforcing a zero-failure objective”. We believe that this objective requires some additional definitions and details. That is to make it truly…

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Solar Storm hazard and risks

We look today at Solar Storm hazard and risks after discussing Volcanoes and Meteorites. This video shows both X-class flares from June 10, 2014. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Like we did for the other “mega” hazards, we will start with a bit of history. “Carrington-class” solar storm hazard and risks On September 1st –2nd 1859, people observed one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms due to solar activities. Beside anomalous and wide-spread auroras occurrences, telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed,…

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Developing a risk assessment for Asteroids Earth collision

Developing a risk assessment for Asteroids Earth collision is not about knowing when the next big impact of an asteroid on Earth will be. As a matter of fact it is to understand, for example, if: The recent decision (December 2016) by European ministers to decline funding part of the project to intercept a space-rock is reasonable. The aim would be to use the crash to deviate the trajectory. The idea above is reasonable when comparing, for example, other “space”…

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Tailings dam portfolio screening level risk assessment

Tailings dam portfolio screening level risk assessment is the title of our latest paper on this extremely interesting subject. The paper uses a case history to show how we helped management of a complex operation with a portfolio of dams to develop a risk management road-map. In addition uncertainties, incomplete information are always explicitly considered when we deploy tailings dam portfolio screening level risk assessment. Tailings dam portfolio screening level risk assessment The dam portfolio approach addresses managers who have…

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