Thesis Defense: Sara Lyons

Title: A Probabilistic Risk Assessment Based Approach to Understanding and Managing the Risks of Natural Gas Distribution Piping in the United States

Author: Sara Lyons

Committee Members:

  • Dr. Mohammad Modarres (Chair),
  • Dr. Katrina Groth,
  • Dr. Jeffrey Herrmann

Date & Time: Fri May 22, 2020 1pm – 2:45pm Eastern Time

Abstract: Two hundred sixty-nine regulated pipeline system accidents caused fatalities and/or injuries in the United States between 2010 and 2018, resulting in 106 fatalities and 599 injuries requiring hospitalization.  About 84% of these serious accidents occurred on gas distribution systems, which primarily transport natural gas.  This study utilizes probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) methods, nationwide gas distribution system information, and operator reported accident data to evaluate natural gas distribution system risks, estimate how many additional resources the public would be willing to dedicate to reduce or eliminate these risks, and determine which improvement areas warrant further evaluation.  Recommendations regarding the overall PRA-based framework, as well as the scope, quality, and level of detail of the underlying data, are provided.