The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II

Focussing on the economics of terrorism in the post 9/11 world, this book brings together original research based on the collaborative efforts of leading economists and planners. The authoritative and expert contributors use a variety of methodological approaches and apply them to different types of terrorist attacks (on airports, highways, seaports, electric power infrastructure, for example).

Chapter 5: Mitigation of Extreme Event Risks: Electric Power Outrage and Infrastructure Failure Interactions

Stephanie E. Chang, Timothy L. McDaniels and Doroth Reed

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, environment, disasters, transport, politics and public policy, terrorism and security, urban and regional studies, transport


5. Mitigation of extreme event risks: electric power outage and infrastructure failure interactions Stephanie E. Chang, Timothy L. McDaniels and Dorothy Reed* INTRODUCTION Terrorist acts are perhaps the most dreaded and distressing of the set of calamities referred to by researchers as ‘extreme events’. Of course terrorism may be inherently more frightening and disturbing than other (more natural) kinds of extreme events (such as earthquakes or the impacts of extreme weather) because it is done deliberately. From a structural point of view, the effect of a terrorist attack on the electric power delivery system is most similar to a shallow-focus seismic event. In this type of event, substations for high-voltage transmission or low-voltage distribution systems may be severely damaged. Component replacement for these substations is neither inexpensive nor rapid. If winter storm weather accompanied by snow and ice is combined with a seismic (or terrorist) event, the duration of the outage would be much longer than for a single event. Strengthening the structural delivery or generation system for one hazard often increases its reliability (or safety) for another. Therefore to focus on one particular type of event is not the most cost-effective approach. As defined by the National Science Foundation, extreme events are characterized by non-linear responses, low probabilities, high consequences and the potential for systems interaction that leads to catastrophic losses (Stewart and Bostrom, 2002). Managing extreme event risks requires new approaches including performance metrics for engineered systems and their impacts, methods for addressing multiple hazards...

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