Monthly Archives: August 2010

Engineering Failures at Irish Rail

This week the Railway Accident Investigation Unit’s report about the Malahide Viaduct Collapse has been published. I am unhappy at the response so far to the extremely serious non-disaster that occurred along the viaduct on the 21st August 2009. The structural failures that occurred, owing to inadequate inspection and preventative maintenance, could have caused a large number of fatalities and a large number of injuries. It is extremely fortuitous that this was a non-disaster, rather than a disaster. In consequence of the hair’s breadth between the actual direct consequences of what happened and what the consequences could have been, a very serious shake-up of the status quo is called for and I do not feel reassured by the recommendations in the report of the Railway Accident Investigation Unit or the written response that has been published by Irish Rail.
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After the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

In the Irish Times of Saturday 7th August 2010 Claire O’Connell has brought together a number of facts and points of view relating to ‘After the spill’. This accident cost human lives and caused injuries. The economic cost of the mistakes that have been made is enormous. The environmental damage is also enormous and its full extent will only become know in the course of time. Claire O’Connell points out that everyone, especially governments, must learn the lessons of the disaster. It seems deep-water exploitation of oil reserves is continuing in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere—it is to be hoped that those responsible are fully mindful of the issues.
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GOM Oil Spill Concerns

From following the updates at the official site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command (which has been at I expect that the well will be permanently plugged within a matter of weeks at the most, all going well. Nonetheless, as an ordinary engineer and academic who is following what is going-on out of interest, I consider there are a lot of open questions and things about which to be somewhat concerned.
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