Abstract

Two hundred sixty-nine regulated pipeline system accidents caused fatalities and/or injuries in the United States between 2010 and 2018, resulting in 106 fatalities and 599 injuries requiring hospitalization. About 84% of these serious accidents occurred on gas distribution systems, which primarily transport natural gas. This study adapts probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) methods which are used predominantly in the space and nuclear industries to gas distribution systems in the U.S. Nationwide system and accident data are used to evaluate natural gas distribution system risks, estimate how many additional resources the public would be willing to dedicate to reduce or eliminate these risks, and determine which improvement areas warrant further evaluation. Recommendations regarding the overall PRA-based framework, as well as the scope, quality, and level of detail of the underlying data, are provided.

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