Assessing and managing natural risks at the Panama Canal Alfaro, Luis D.; Baecher, Gregory B.; Guerra, Fernando; Patev, Robert C.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of natural and chronic risks to improve planning and to optimize its engineering safeguards. The risk assessment program began with an all-inclusive risk register. The register lists somewhat more than 500 items divided among the many categories of facilities constituting the Canal (dams, locks, cuts, gates, power stations, water plants, and others) and among the various hazards facing the Canal (seismic, hydrologic, meteorological, operational). Scientific and operations data for the Canal have been compiled to characterize risk, while modern reliability models have been developed to translate those data into actionable assessments of reliability and consequence. Risks were categorized as catastrophic, significant, or moderate. The first set has been engineered in detail; the others have been approached operationally. The resulting probabilities and consequences are tracked in acceptable risk charts in FN format better to understand where risk remediation is called for. This comprehensive risk assessment is allowing ACP to reduce risk while meaningly keeping costs under control.
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