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Phenomena that can compromise power systems operation need to be carefully analyzed in order to evaluate their impact on the security and reliability levels of the electrical networks. The real-time assessment of the system's security and reliability levels, especially under unforeseen contingencies, is known as online power system security analysis. For complex networks this process requires large computational efforts whereas computation times should be less than a few minutes for the information to be useful. To address this problem a distributed architecture based on the Web is proposed. The architecture integrates a network of remotely controlled units distributed in the most critical sections of the electrical network for fields data acquisition and safety check violations, a distributed solution engine for the online analysis of the system security, and a Web-based interface for graphical synoptic and reporting development. The results obtained from an intensive experimentation demonstrate the validity of the architecture and stimulate the enhancement of the solution engine through the use of a computational grid able to dynamically acquire the needed resources.