Engineering Consultant

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HIGH-PROFILE ENGINEERING PROJECTS COULD RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT LEGAL ISSUES

Dr. Miholits is an engineering problem solver for high-profile scientific and engineering projects. In this role,
he analysis designs and proposes design upgrades to prevent future problems (failures) and forestall litigation.


WHY SPECIALIZE ON SOLVING HIGH-PROFILE ENGINEERING PROBLEMS?

1. These facilities have an enhanced litigation risk potential.
2. Good problem solving skills can forestall litigation.
Nuclear Power Plant NUCLEAR PROJECTS WIPP

WHY UPGRADE THE DESIGN OF A 40-YEAR OLD RETAINING WALL?

The wall bracing system was needed because an above-ground 45 ton load was added at the top of the retaining wall.
The wall was upgraded to: (1) handle the additional load; (2) conform with the latest California
earthquake standards; and (3) reduce the probability of a earthquake failure and potential litigation.


Photos and illustrations: (1) a caricature of an engineer doing research; (2) DWPF-Defense Waste Processing Facility at the DOE-Savannah River Site; (3) Three Mile Island Nuclear Facility; (4) DOE-WIPP-defense nuclear waste repository; and (5-6) SLAC retaining wall around beam line at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

ENGINEERING CONSULTANT

Dr. Miholits offers proactive corrective action services to prevent an undesirable incident from happening and thereby forestalling litigation actions.

  • Dr. Miholits offers these services to expert witness engineering companies before a failure, accident or other form of incident has occurred on sensitive/high-profile engineering projects. Project types are described in Section 2.
  • Specifically, he offers these services to prevent an incident from occurring through the use of timely re-designs.

SECTION 2
WHAT KIND OF HIGH-PROFILE ENGINEERING CONSULTING
WORK DOES DR. MIHOLITS DO?

 

 

Dr. Miholits provides Proactive Engineering Consulting services on high-profile engineering projects which have a significant litigation risk potential in the form of failures and accidents. He does this specifically to provide proactive solutions to those problems which have a significant potential for litigation and thereby forestall these litigation actions. Only certain kinds of project conditions are amenable to this approach because of reasons such as designs, timing, etc.

 

The cited engineering consulting he has dealt with include environmental (health & safety); nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle (radiological health & safety); regulatory issues; legal concerns; etc. His objective is to solve existing problems by way of: (1) engineering, health and safety, and environmental corrective actions; (2) educating the Client regarding the scientific, medical and engineering aspects of the problem; and (3) etc.

In the real world, failure events should occur in the Engineering Design Analysis & Problem Solving Phase.  For a failure to occur, you need a structure that was under-designed either through: (1) calculation errors; (2) excessive and inaccurate cost-saving measures; (3) an out-date design code; (4) a structure was or will be overloaded in the future; (5) defective materials; (6) construction errors; (7) construction inspection errors; (8) an act of God; and/or (9) other unknown reasons.

  • If an engineer evaluates (audits) the facility design and finds everything in order, then an undesirable incident such as a bridge failure should theoretically not occur.
  • If an Engineering Design Analysis & Problem Solving activity is not performed, then there is the potential exists that any problems which may exist may not be discovered and/or identified and thereby corrected. Then it is possible that an undesirable incident may occur. The end result is possible litigation.
  • This presentation shows the relationship between both activities and most importantly, the importance of both business lines.

Dr. Miholits' Proactive Engineering Consulting centers around three types of services.

  • Case 1: Dr. Miholits undertakes an engineering project at plant 1 where an incident is expected to occur because there was one at a similar facility (plant 2). This project is not expected to lead to regulatory or legal action. Example: the engineer is aware of a design flaw at another nuclear power plant (plant 2) which led to the leakage of radioactive materials which was followed by litigation. The consultant knew that the same design was used at his plant (plant 1) which means that an accident could occur at his plant (plant 1). Solution: sell the need to fix the design flaw at his plant (plant 1). The steps he goes through includes:

    • He obtains the first level of information by doing a Forensic Research activity (i.e., initial research, investigation and analysis phase). He obtains more information via the Engineering Design Analysis & Problem Solving Search activity. This allows him to obtain the engineering and scientific information needed to perform a Paper Study. This is needed in the process of developing a solution to high-profile civil, environmental and nuclear fuel cycle engineering projects and problems.

    • Then as an Proactive Engineering Consultant, he will use this information plus his engineering knowledge and experience of the subject areas to address the high-profile engineering projects he specializes in (listed below). This work is normally performed on engineering projects which don't have a legal involvement. However, legal issues may be uncovered during the course of the project as they are high-profile. If this happens, this condition will be treated accordingly. As an example, regulatory concerns and legal issues would be addressed while he assumes the Expert Witness Consultant role.

  • Case 2: he undertakes engineering projects in the planning phase. the original designs in many plants have features which can lead to regulatory and failure problems. To avoid this, he would propose design changes to avoid downstream litigation. In this case, the consultant knows of design flaws as he reads the literature as to what is happening at other plants.

  • Case 3: he undertakes engineering projects which have been built and are in operation.

    • Proactive Engineering Consulting (aka engineering problem solving & design analysis) is used to determine if steps can be taken to prevent problems in the future which can lead to legal actions. The act of reinforcing a retaining wall in advance because the original design was based on 1960 earthquake standards and the wall is now subjected to increased loads is wise decision as it prevents the wall from coming down in the event of a Big Earthquake.

    • Dr. Miholits has undertaken such activities. Example: he was engaged in a proactive problem solving activity which led to reinforcing a 35 foot retaining wall at SLAC. This wall was designed and built in the early 1960s to existing earthquake standards. Because a 67,000 pound transformer and 25,000 pound concrete pad was added at the top of the wall, it was necessary to redesign the wall to current earthquake standards. This redesign and reinforcement action eliminated the potential for this wall to fail in the event the most severe earthquake occurred today in the San Francisco Bay area, such that it could have an influence at the SLAC site..

    • The two construction photos shown above illustrate the aforementioned Case 3 engineering project (dimensions are approximate).

End of Engineering Consultant Page Page 4 of 5   


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