CMU brings infrastructure into focus

May 22, 2013 at 3:48 PM

PITTSBURGH, May 22 (UPI) -- Experts on critical U.S. infrastructure are coming together this month to discuss protection of it from natural disasters and terrorist attack.

The panel discussion, the sixth in a series by Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, will take place May 30 at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

"The U.S. power grid is vulnerable," said M. Granger Morgan, head of CMU's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, who will moderate the "Natural Disasters and Terrorism: Strategies for Protecting Critical Services and Infrastructure" event.

"Continued growth of demand, new regulations created in the 1990s to promote industry competition, and more use of highly variable sources of power such as wind, have produced an increasingly fragile network," he said.

"While we need to make the system more robust, there is no way to make the power system perfectly secure against large natural disasters or terrorist attacks. For that reason, we also need to be taking steps to be able to speed up the restoration of the system after an outage, and to sustain critical social services when the bulk power system is down."

Participating in the panel are: Jacobo Bielak, professor of civil and environmental engineering at CMU; Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Tim Manning, deputy administrator for Protection and National Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency; David K. Owens, executive vice president of Business Operations at Edison Electric Institute; and Bruno Sinopoli, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at CMU.

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