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Engineering and Disaster

Engineering and Disaster

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Engineering and Disaster

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  1. Centre for Science StudiesLancaster University Engineering and Disaster John Law (Engineering and Disaster 3)

  2. Centre for Science StudiesLancaster University 1. Causes of disasters almost always more complex than they seem at first (beware quick diagnoses!) 2. Disasters emerge out of complex social, natural and technical interactions (we need to understand these systemically) 3. We should engineer for imperfection and lack of control

  3. Three examples: • Foot and mouth disease, the UK, 2001 • Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor, 1979 • Foot and mouth disease, the UK, 2007 3

  4. My first example of a disaster: foot and Mouth Disease 4

  5. Foot and mouth disease Infectious disease of livestock Most animals don’t die, but they suffer Agricultural productivity greatly reduced It’s a ‘controlled’ disease: to be eradicated 5

  6. 6

  7. Foot and Mouth disease came to the UK in 2001 Discovered in February 2001 It rapidly spread 7

  8. http://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_14---Heddon-on-the-Wall_web.jpg?&k=Heddon+on+the+Wallhttp://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_14---Heddon-on-the-Wall_web.jpg?&k=Heddon+on+the+Wall 8

  9. http://www.farmersguardian.com/Pictures/web/s/u/b/foot-and-mouth_thumb.jpghttp://www.farmersguardian.com/Pictures/web/s/u/b/foot-and-mouth_thumb.jpg 9

  10. Animal movements stopped Exports were prohibited Millions of animals were slaughtered 10

  11. http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/09_02/FootMouthCullG_468x683.jpghttp://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/09_02/FootMouthCullG_468x683.jpg 17

  12. There were mass burials and burnings of slaughtered animals 18

  13. http://www.jeffreygwilkinson.com/USERIMAGES/%C2%A9UK-foot-and-mouth-epideni.gifhttp://www.jeffreygwilkinson.com/USERIMAGES/%C2%A9UK-foot-and-mouth-epideni.gif 19

  14. http://pro.corbis.com/images/AAJJ001145.jpg?size=67&uid={38CA7845-E5B7-4B4D-B32A-C2D00C088E8F}http://pro.corbis.com/images/AAJJ001145.jpg?size=67&uid={38CA7845-E5B7-4B4D-B32A-C2D00C088E8F} 20

  15. http://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_31---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpg?&k=Foot-and-Mouth+Funeral+Pyre%2C+Hadrians+Wall%2C+Northumberlandhttp://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_31---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpg?&k=Foot-and-Mouth+Funeral+Pyre%2C+Hadrians+Wall%2C+Northumberland 21

  16. The countryside was ‘closed’ No one could walk 22

  17. http://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_26---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpghttp://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_26---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpg 23

  18. http://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_26---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpghttp://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_26---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpg 24

  19. It became a political scandal It was on the television every night The outbreak was so large that the state veterinary service was overwhelmed 25

  20. Tourism suffered Farming suffered There was rural isolation And huge anger at ‘mediaeval’ scenes 26

  21. 27 http://www.freefoto.com/images/07/17/07_17_33---Foot-and-Mouth-Funeral-Pyre--Hadrians-Wall--Northumberland_web.jpg

  22. Here are the cold facts … Started: 19th February 2001 Last case: 30th September 2001 2030 premises infected ‘Pre-emptive cull’: 8131 premises 6.4m animals slaughtered (disease control/welfare) (18.6m annually slaughtered in the UK anyway ) £3bn cost to govt (£8bn total?) 28

  23. … continued • Farmers in despair • Meat trade stopped • Tourism hugely affected • People horrified • It was out of control epidemiologically • Government panicked in early stages of the epidemic • A major disaster! 29

  24. So where did it come from? Foot and mouth not normally found in the UK 30

  25. Pan Asia O Serotype, 1990 31

  26. Pan Asia O Serotype, 1995 32

  27. Pan Asia O Serotype, 1998 33

  28. Pan Asia O Serotype, 2001 34

  29. Borders & Biosecurity FMD carried in trade routes in meat and live animals The UK and other ‘disease free’ countries try to keep it out Difficult! 35

  30. OIE Classification Map, 2000 36

  31. Borders & Biosecurity: UK 5m containers arrive each year 7m road vehicles 120,000 (?) inspected 13m air passenger arrivals from possibly infected countries Very difficult to control: borders leaky And if it gets in?Then it spreads because animals aren’t vaccinated 37

  32. And spread it did!FMD 31st March 38

  33. Pause • A catastrophe • But how to think about it? • Answer: • Treat it as a ‘normal accident’! 39

  34. Charles Perrow: Normal Accidents Some technological systems are inherently accident prone Why? Answer: components interact in specific, damaging, ways We need to think in system terms Three crucial factors …. Normal Accident Theory

  35. Complex interactionsbranching paths, feedback loops, unexpected, invisible sequences Linear interactions:expected/familiar sequence, one thing after another; visible even if unplanned Complex systems are potentially unstable: If something small goes wrong it may spread unpredictably Factor 1: System Complexity

  36. Fast: or tightly coupled systemno slack; no time to intervene Slow: or loosely coupled systemslack, buffer(time to recover; time to intervene) Tightly coupled systems are potentially unstable: If something goes wrong it may happen too fast to control Factor 2: Coupling

  37. If it goes wrong is it hazardous? If breakdown is catastrophic then we shouldn’t build systems prone to failure Factor 3: Hazard

  38. Perrow’s argument Tightly coupled and complex systems are inherently unstable If things go wrong: They’re unpredictable and too fast to control If they are hazardous we should avoid them

  39. Why did Perrow develop his theory? 46

  40. Answer:He studied the 1979 Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

  41. Harrisburg, Penn. 48

  42. Three Mile Island http://www.fda.gov/centennial/this_week/images/13_06/3_mile_island.jpg

  43. Nuclear Reactor http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/graphics/wbndiag.gif Reactor emits heat Primary cooling circuit cooled by secondary cooling circuit Reactor cooled by primary cooling circuit 50