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The 17th Mallet-Milne Lecture: Earthquake hazard and risk analysis for natural and induced seismicity

Event organised by Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics

08 June 2022

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In recognition of his contributions to both research and practice, Julian Bommer has been selected to give the 17th Mallet-Milne Lecture.

The lecture will provide insights from 35 years of experience in seismic hazard studies for major engineering projects around the world, including major dams, bridges, pipelines and the expansion of the Panama Canal, as well as work as an expert witness on several earthquake-related disputes.

A significant portion of Julian’s work has been for nuclear sites, working as an advisor to the Office for Nuclear Regulation in the UK and as a consultant on projects in Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Romania, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States. A key challenge in all these projects has been the identification, quantification and, where possible, reduction, of uncertainties, which often involves overcoming preconceived views.

Examples will be presented in the lecture of the discovery of previously unknown active faults, on the one hand, and cases of mapped faults subsequently found to be less active than previously assumed, on the other.

Professor Julian Bommer has contributed, as a consultant to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to procedures developed precisely for managing uncertainty and challenging cognitive bias in seismic hazard analyses, and the effectiveness of these concepts will also be discussed.

Julian will also describe how some of these projects have illustrated that they are challenges not only in making impartial scientific evaluations but that the preconceptions of stakeholders can also impede the objective application of the hazard assessments in decision making.

For a full synopsis, see the main page for the 17th Mallet-Milne Lecture




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Professor Julian J Bommer

Professor Julian J Bommer

Imperial College London

senior research investigator

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Professor Julian J Bommer

Professor Julian Bommer is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and served as chairman of SECED from 2000 to 2002. From 1994 to 2011, he was on the academic staff at Imperial College London, being promoted to Professor of Earthquake Risk Assessment in 2006; he is now a Senior Research Investigator at Imperial. His research interests are related to ground-motion prediction, seismic design inputs, seismic hazard assessment, and earthquake risk modelling, both for natural and induced seismicity. Professor Bommer has published extensively on these topics and his work has been very extensively cited. He has also conducted field studies of damaging earthquakes in many locations around the world including Armenia, California, Colombia, El Salvador, Mozambique, Peru and Turkey.

Julian has worked as a consultant on hazard and risk assessment projects related to both natural and induced seismicity on projects around the world, including dams, bridges and other major infrastructure, including serving on the Seismic Advisory Board for the Panama Canal Authority during the expansion project, and recently as reviewer in hazard studies for tailings dams in Brazil and Zambia A major focus of his work has been related to nuclear power plants and have included serving on review panels for seismic studies for the Diablo Canyon plant in California, the Baraka plant in Abu Dhabi and the Cernavoda plant in Romania, and leading a PSHA studies for nuclear sites in Brazil and South Africa. He has also led ground-motion sub-project for similar studies at the Hanford site in Washington state, for nuclear power plants in Spain, and for the Idaho National Laboratory. In the UK, he has served for several years on the ONR Expert Panel on Seismic Hazard.

His work in the field of induced seismicity has included the development and implementation of one of the first traffic light systems for an enhanced geothermal project in Central America, and subsequently as an advisor to the Basel deep heat mining project in Switzerland that adapted that scheme. He has worked extensively on the seismic hazard and risk modelling for induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands and is leading a seismic hazard study for induced earthquakes associated with wastewater re-injection at a large oil field in Colombia. He has also worked for the UK Oil & Gas Authority to develop guidelines on ground-motion thresholds to be used in traffic light systems for the control of seismicity related to hydraulic fracturing projects, and has served as an expert witness in hearings related to induced seismicity in Canada and Spain.

For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell