Advances in Quantitative Risk Analysis

Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) as a technique for managing and understanding risks dates back to the 1970s, initially applied in the aerospace, electronics, and nuclear power industries. During the 1980s the technique was refined and applied to the chemical and petrochemical industries. Until recently, the level of detail of a QRA study has been limited by the availability of high speed computing resources. Results for coarse QRA studies were typically presented in terms of overall individual risk, or societal risk, with little opportunity to segment or analyze the risk results in more detail.

We can now conduct more detailed and accurate QRA studies due to the accessibility, availability, and affordability of high speed computing. For example, using a normal desktop computer, a QRA can now yield risks segmented by hazard type: toxic, flammable, or overpressure; or can filter different population types. Where multiple hazard scenarios may have been combined in the past, each hazard scenario can now be considered individually. Risk results can be assessed in terms of fatalities, dangerous dose, or financial impact. Additionally, a QRA can be expanded upon, to include a detailed facility siting analysis, where building structure, indoor population, and ventilation systems are considered in more detail.

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