Pavel Danihelka

Research & Development Czech Republic

Prof. Dr. Pavel Danihelka

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Faculty of Safety Engineering
VSB – Technical University of Ostrava


NATECH – Technological disasters initiated by natural hazards

According UNISDR Sendai Framework, disasters bring great damage, losses, disruptions or destruction, whether happened through natural or technological causes. They cause losses of life and property, and social and economic disruption. Disasters occur when vulnerable objects are exposed to hazards. Natural hazards as flood, storm, landslide, earthquake or volcanic eruption lead to major human, environmental and financial losses. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the frequency and magnitude of disasters, both natural and man-made. There is a special phenomenon, when natural disasters or even natural events can trigger secondary disasters such as toxic (adioactive) atmosphere release, spill of hazardous materials, fire or explosion. Natural hazards affecting chemical or nuclear facilities attract particular attention. These conjoint natural and technological disasters are termed "NATECHs": Natural-hazard triggered technological accidents. Examples of NATECH accidents are Fukushima power plant disaster after tsunami, oil spilling during hurricane Katrina, chlorine release during floods in Czech Spolana (2002) and many others.

There is increased concern of the danger posed by NATECH accidents since they can cause the release of hazardous substances resulting in severe environmental pollution, explosions or fires and infrastructure disruption. Natural disasters and technological accidents had been usually studied as separate events and thus, there is limited information available on the interactions between natural events and triggered technological accidents. Awareness of the hazard posed by NATECHs is growing, and a need for explicitly including them into chemical accident prevention, preparedness and response programmes is well recognised. The importance of Natechs was recognised by UNISDR and in both Sendai (2015) and Cancún (2017) Global Platforms on Disaster Risk Reduction, special sections on Natechs were organized. Natechs are also involved into SEVESO III Directive demands.

An international project on NATECHs was launched by the 2009-2012 Programme of Work of the OECD Chemical Accidents Programme and continues till now as “Natech II” Project. The objectives of the project were to investigate the specific elements of Natechs and to make recommendations for good practices with respect to prevention of, preparedness for and response to NATECH accidents.

Two global workshops on NATECH Risk Management was held, the first on 23-25 May 2012 in Dresden, Germany [see OECD ENV/JM/MONO(2013)4]) and the second in Potsdam on  5 – 7 September 2018. The purpose of the workshops was to discuss specific elements of the prevention of, preparedness for and response to chemical accidents caused by a natural hazard or natural disaster and to make recommendations for best practices related to NATECH s. The recommendations from the first workshop were presented at the 22nd Working Group on Chemical Accidents meeting (WGCA) and the WGCA developed an addendum to the OECD Guiding Principles on Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response to address NATECH  Risk Management. This document was published under the responsibility of the OECD Joint Meeting of the Chemical Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology, and agreed that it be unclassified and made publically available.

Another Amendment proposal as a result of second workshop is in the process of preparation by the Natech II Steering Committee nowadays.

Curriculum Vitae

2002 - present - Faculty of Safety Engineering, VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, Research, Education,Professor, Head of Laboratory of Risk Research and Mangement (till 2016), Teaching and research in fields of risk analysis and management , industrial safety, environment protection,  energy, major accidents

2005-2011 -  University of Zilina, Faculty of Special Engineering,  Research, Education,  Hosting professor,  Teaching and research in fields of risk industrial safety, fire protection,  guarantee of study option “Emergency response service”

1999 - 2002 -  Energy Research Centre, VSB-TU Ostrava,  Research, Education,  Associate Professor, Head of Department of Safety of Technologies,  risk analysis, environment protection, analysis of wastes and emissions, combustion, technologies

1995 - 1999 -  Institute of Environmental Engineering, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava,  Institute of Environmental Engineering, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava,  Associated Professor,  Risk analysis, environment protection, analysis of wastes and emissions, combustion, technologies

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