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Structural Concrete, Vol. 12, no. 1, March 2011

Structural systems for protection against extreme events

Klaas van Breugel, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands


Typical for extreme events is their multidisciplinary nature, and, consequently, solutions for protection against extreme events should mirror their inherent characteristics. This article discusses different types of hazards and extreme events in order to illustrate the complexity and scale of the problem. Concepts for judging hazards and associated risks are dealt with. Some features of the traditional risk concept are discussed, followed by a proposal for an extended risk concept, to be applied when dealing with extreme hazards. The emphasis will be on aspects that are typical of "low-probability/high-consequence risks", particularly industrial risks. The potential role of structural (concrete) protective systems for mitigating the consequences of industrial accidents is emphasized. Throughout this article, the role of structural designers and their possible contribution to the debate on adequate protection against extreme events is addressed.

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