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Introduction to RAPID-N for Natech Risk Analysis and Mapping: A Beginner's Guide

Abstract: 

The impact of natural hazards on industrial facilities, pipelines, offshore platforms and other infrastructure that handles, stores or transports hazardous substances can cause secondary events such as fires, explosions, and toxic or radioactive releases. These so-called Natech accidents have often had significant human, environmental and economic impacts. Successfully controlling Natech risk is usually a major challenge, which requires targeted prevention, preparedness and response measures. Systematic analysis and assessment of the Natech risk a prerequisite for this purpose. Developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in response to requests by governments for efficient and easy-to-use Natech risk assessment tools, the Rapid Natech Risk Analysis and Mapping System (RAPID-N) is an on-line software for the quick analysis and mapping of Natech accident risk both at local and regional levels. The system unites natural-hazard impact assessment, Natech scenario development, and chemical accident consequence analysis capabilities under a single roof, which features a modular, extensible, and collaborative architecture facilitating data entry, analysis and visualisation. Since it became operational in 2012, the user base of RAPID-N has been growing progressively, including more and more users from public authorities, research organisations, academia, and the private sector. According to feedback from the users, the system has been further developed in time to feature additional capabilities, such as a better and mobile-friendly user interface, a more advanced analysis framework, and extended support for various natural hazards and industrial activities. Besides a comprehensive User's Manual, the JRC has also provided case-studies and hands-on training to support the users. As part of these support activities, this beginner's guide aims to deliver a comprehensive, yet easy-to-follow introduction to Natech risk analysis and mapping by using RAPID-N. The guide is composed of three main sections. In the first section, information about the primary record types of the system, such as natural hazards, industrial plants, and risk assessments, are explained. Data entry options and also minimum data requirements are described for each record type separately by giving examples. In the second part, the data estimation and analysis framework of RAPID-N is explained in detail. The steps of the Natech risk analysis methodology are indicated and information on customization possibilities of the analysis models by using user-defined properties and property estimators are provided, including the basics of the programming language that can be used by the users to develop custom estimators. In the last section, step-by-step risk analysis tutorials are provided for various case studies ranging from a simple single plant/single plant unit scenario to a multiple plant/multiple plant unit scenario. In addition to information on data entry and the analysis steps that should be followed for each scenario, short discussions on the risk analysis results are also provided to assist the users in the interpretation of the risk analysis reports and maps. The information and tutorials provided in this guide will facilitate the use of RAPID-N by a wide range of users world-wide and lessen the time necessary to perform Natech risk analysis at local and regional levels. The guide also provides updated information with respect to the user manual by describing features and capabilities added or updated since the publication of the manual.