• A bridge over the Strait of Gibraltar? New bridge forms span farther

    A bridge’s span is the distance of suspended roadway between towers, with the current world record standing at just under 2km. Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible.

  • New SAFETY Act best practices guide to commercial building security

    A new web-based tool can help security professionals for commercial office buildings perform assessments based on the Best Practices for Anti-Terrorism Security (BPATS) for commercial office buildings.

  • Revisiting federal safety regulations for liquid petroleum gas distribution systems

    Current federal safety regulations for small distribution systems used for propane and other liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) should be improved for clarity, efficiency, enforceability, and applicability to risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

    Climate change has forced a paradigm shift in the way coastal flooding and erosion risks are managed. In areas of lower risk, adaptation plans are being devised, often with provisions to make properties and infrastructure more resilient. Adaptation may involve requiring raised foundations in flood-prone areas or the installation of mitigating measures, such as sustainable drainage systems. Building codes may also be established to make structures more disaster-proof and to control the types of constructions within risk zones. But such adaptation options are often of limited use or unsuitable for high-risk areas. In such areas relocation is the only safe climate-proof response.

  • 32 dead, 500,000 homes without power, Wilmington virtually cut off

    Emergency crews have been busy Monday and today in many cities across the Carolinas as both residents and the authorities were trying to cope with the aftermath of a record rainfall. The water damaged tens of thousands of homes, and floodwaters may not recede for days. Even as the remnants of Hurricane Florence pulled away, it was clear that the turmoil had only begun.

  • Hurricanes can cause enormous damage inland, but emergency plans focus on coasts

    Coastal residents also prepare for major storms by building homes elevated above anticipated high water levels, in order to minimize damage and qualify for flood insurance. And building codes commonly call for reinforced construction to endure high wind speeds. All of these sensible and essential preparations focus on wind and storm surge in coastal zones. Today, however, risk from hurricanes is extending inland. Some of the worst damage from Eastern Seaboard hurricanes in the past several decades has come from inland flooding along rivers after storms move ashore.

  • When is a sea wall a good idea?

    Recent hurricanes like Maria and Sandy have brought crippling winds, torrential rains, and flooding to vulnerable coastal regions, in some cases killing thousands of people. Sea walls and other barriers are often suggested as a way of protecting these low-lying coastal communities, but how large should such a wall be, and where is the most effective place to build it? Environmental scientists and researchers is trying to answer these questions and more, to help curb the devastation from future hurricanes.

  • Keeping buildings functioning after natural disasters

    After an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other natural hazard, it’s considered a win if no one gets hurt and buildings stay standing. But an even bigger victory is possible: keeping those structures operational. This outcome could become more likely with improved standards and codes for the construction of residential and commercial buildings.

  • Crafting emergency orders to protect the U.S. electric grid

    Russia and other potential adversaries are seeking to implant increasingly sophisticated cyber weapons on our power grid. Now, the United States has an unprecedented opportunity to help deter adversaries from using those weapons, and to prevent catastrophic blackouts if deterrence fails.

  • MIT Energy Initiative study reports on the future of nuclear energy

    How can the world achieve the deep carbon emissions reductions that are necessary to slow or reverse the impacts of climate change? The authors of a new MIT study say that unless nuclear energy is meaningfully incorporated into the global mix of low-carbon energy technologies, the challenge of climate change will be much more difficult and costly to solve. For nuclear energy to take its place as a major low-carbon energy source, however, issues of cost and policy need to be addressed.

  • Nuclear safety board slams Energy Department plan to weaken oversight

    The Trump administration defended an order that could be used to withhold information about nuclear facilities from a federal board, but its leader says the action is not consistent with the U.S. Atomic Energy Act.

  • Control system simulator helps operators to fight hackers

    A simulator that comes complete with a virtual explosion could help the operators of chemical processing plants – and other industrial facilities – learn to detect attacks by hackers bent on causing mayhem. The simulator will also help students and researchers understand better the security issues of industrial control systems.

  • Using Artificial Intelligence to locate risky dams

    In the U.S., 15,498 of the more than 88,000 dams in the country are categorized as having high hazard potential—meaning that if they fail, they could kill people. As of 2015, some 2,000 of these high hazard dams are in need of repair. With a hefty price tag estimated at around $20 billion, those repairs aren’t going to happen overnight.

  • Using Artificial Intelligence to locate risky dams

    In the U.S., 15,498 of the more than 88,000 dams in the country are categorized as having high hazard potential—meaning that if they fail, they could kill people. As of 2015, some 2,000 of these high hazard dams are in need of repair. With a hefty price tag estimated at around $20 billion, those repairs aren’t going to happen overnight.

  • Graphene laminated pipes reduce corrosion in the oil and gas industry

    Corrosion costs the oil and gas industry in the U.S. alone $1.4 billion. Researchers have discovered ways of using graphene to prolong the lifetime of pipes used in the oil and gas industry.