Ebook: Correlation Between Human Factors and the Prevention of Disasters
The nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant, devastating floods, landslides, droughts, the erosion of tailings dams and desertification are just some of the natural and manmade disasters which have afflicted the Ukraine and neighboring countries in recent years. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW), Correlation between Human Factors and the Prevention of Catastrophes, was held in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine in September 2011. This book presents the proceedings of the ARW, which analyzed accumulated European theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the field of disaster prevention, addressing a wide range of correlations between human factors and the prevention of catastrophes. Subjects covered include land-use planning and management procedures; risk assessment in emergency situations; control of polluted water; socio economic impacts from desertification; health impacts arising from nuclear facilities, flooding and tailings dam accidents; risk management systems and measures; and the protection of water resources. The presentations reflected the extensive experience of workshop participants and will be of great interest, especially to countries that are developing their legal frameworks in civil emergency planning, most particularly those who are aligning to EU directives and other international standards.
The ARW “Correlation between Human Factors and the Prevention of Catastrophes” was convened on 12-15 September, 2011 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Ukraine has a great number of hazardous sites including nuclear plants, mining and manufacturing facilities with technically inappropriate security systems, transport routes and pipelines that are strongly subject to human influence. Severe floods in 2007 and 2008 on the Dniester and Prut rivers, affecting wide areas both in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, have demonstrated the necessity of revising security policies in the Eastern European states.
The impact of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant, as well as devastating floods, landslides, more frequent droughts, erosion of tailings dams, and desertification that is typical of Ukraine in recent decades, increases the level of population vulnerability. Considerable efforts need to be made to combat both natural and man-made disasters through a deeper understanding of human factors that are crucial to the prevention of catastrophes as well as the development of emergency management systems, different methodologies for catastrophe forecasting and prevention, and the transfer of technology and knowledge.
Within the cooperation between the Individual Plan of Actions of Partnership (IPAP) Ukraine–NATO, Ukraine is carrying out a number of events; these include the on-going activities of the Ministry for Emergency Situations; upgrading and improvement of inter-ministerial plans of response to different kinds of disasters based on proper risk assessment; improvement of GIS capabilities; enhancing expertise in the management of catastrophe consequences; and increasing population awareness levels in emergency situations.
This ARW had the task of analysing accumulated European theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the field of disaster prevention as well as the elaboration and development of practical recommendations that need to be constantly adapted to match the trends in human and social dynamics. It involved social and sociological aspects, positive attitudes of the population to events, and territorial features.
The great interest in the Workshop was particularly reflected in the large participation of relevant regional scientific and public administration institutions. Top management representatives from the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency Situations, as well as regional authority representatives, took an active part in the ARW sessions.
The agenda consisted of 22 presentations/papers (from twelve countries) and discussions that covered the following principal themes addressing a wide range of the correlations between human factors and the prevention of catastrophes. It included the significance of human factors relating to the combating of natural disasters through, for example, land-use planning and management procedures; risk assessment in emergency situations; the control of polluted waters; the socio-economic impacts from desertification; human health impacts from nuclear, flooding and tailings dams accidents; risk management systems and measures; and the protection of water resources.
The essence of the various themes centred on several aspects of human influences on the creation and prevention of catastrophes, and assessing how the identified risks can be best mitigated. The workshop again recognized the complex inter-relationships between several key factors that must be involved, to varying degrees of sophistication, in the overall management of the range of hazards and their associated risks.
There was a very strong emphasis on the critical importance of not only the collection of relevant monitoring data and information, but also on its effective communication to the wider world. In this particular regard there is an ever-increasing need for enhanced levels of cooperation in the sharing of such data and information so that due lessons can be learned in both preventing and mitigating the effects of catastrophes
There is a need for more realistic and accurate modelling techniques for predicting hazardous events, their intensities and potential scales of impact. This should include, for example, the use of map-zoning methods for specific hazards and their monitoring needs. In addition, the increased use of early real-time warning systems for such natural and man-made hazards as earthquakes, landslides and flooding would greatly enhance the potential for preventing and mitigating impacts on the population and property, for example. In addition, there is a need for greater standardisation of monitoring systems and the subsequent interpretation of collected data.
The risks from dam failures, whether related to water reservoirs or tailings dams for example, require particular evaluation so that the generally wide-spread consequences of such events can be avoided or minimized. Similarly, the risks to critical water resources from contamination by biological, chemical or radioactive substances as a consequence of, for example, industrial effluent discharges, major floods or mine-flooding, require critical assessment to safeguard human health.
The presentations reflected the extensive experience in the participating countries (namely Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Russian Federation, Ukraine and United Kingdom) in the several fields related to the combating of man-made and natural disasters, as well as their secondary impacts, should be assessed and adapted to specific conditions of countries such as Ukraine. Thus the presentations were considered very useful, especially for those partner countries that are developing their legal frameworks in civil emergency planning, and particularly those who are aligning to EU directives and other international standards.
Participants proposed to continue the common efforts of their countries in scientific research and in the development of effective solutions for minimising the negative impacts of disasters. They also considered that gaining a greater understanding of further specific topics, such as optimization of disaster monitoring and information sharing for enhancing human security could be one of the main topics for a future workshop.
Land degradation and desertification prevention is an emerging problem for the African continent. The methodology of desertification satellite monitoring, mapping and change detection is applied to test sites in the two Maghreb countries, namely Morocco and Mauritania. The changes in vegetation cover and soil erosion are used as desertification drivers. The socio-economic benefits of desertification prevention in Morocco and Mauritania are considered.
The purpose of this work was to analyse the effects of bystander factors from blood sera of people affected by the Chernobyl accident on human keratinocyte cell culture (HPV-G cells). A new method was developed for the evaluation of bystander factor presence in vivo in blood of people irradiated by the Chernobyl accident. Affected population groups included liquidators of the Chernobyl accident and people living and working in areas of the Gomel region contaminated by radionuclides. The analysis has shown that bystander factors persist in Chernobyl liquidator blood samples for more than 20 years since irradiation. The data suggest that blood sera contain bystander factors which are able to induce micronuclei and decrease metabolic activity of HPV-G cells.
This article analyses the role of diplomacy through science, technology and innovation (S&T&I) in preventing natural disasters as a global challenge for the 21st Century. It examines the synergy of two global platforms promoted by developed countries and their initiatives for preventing natural disasters. The presented material concerns the contribution of academics and diplomats in a large and dynamic world of nature.
In today's global society, the European Union faces new opportunities as well as new dangers. Political, social and technological developments have created a fluid security environment where risks and vulnerabilities are more diverse and less visible. Ukraine, as a European country, plays a critical role in European security while not being the member of EU; the EU and Ukraine need each other principally in the security sector. A better understanding of security systems and approaches in EU, and also in Ukraine, will serve to produce a more reliable security system. The EU is making firm steps to bring Ukraine closer to EU, and the establishment of a European Security Research Programme (ESRP), from 2007 onwards, is a major contribution towards the achievement of this objective. Ukraine's integration into European security research programmes will stimulate the development of new approaches and technologies in the security sector, which will ultimately provide a more secure environment in the whole of Europe, including Ukraine.
The constant and intense growth in electric energy production at nuclear power plants (NPP) results in new additional great problems, one of which is the increased generation of radionuclide gas-aerosol discharges (RGAD) to the atmosphere and in liquid radioactive discharges (LRD) into different water features. According to the Russian Program on Intense Development of Atomic Energy, 17 new nuclear reactors will be put into service by 2020 at the 7 currently operated NPPs. It is necessary to provide exclusive safety measures, particularly to provide limited levels of irradiation human doses (IHD). These IHD must not exceed the 10 Micro Sievert level on every factor of response that are defined in the special sanitary rules, instructions and laws. We have collected and analysed data on RGAD and LRD values for all 10 Russian NPPs during the past 13 years of their operation. The observed stable annual decreasing tendency of these values has created a well-grounded scientific base for predicting the levels for each NPP in the future period of the above-mentioned Programme's implementation according to our developed methodology. The predicted RGAD and LRD levels have been used for IHD calculations in the special certified model information-simulation systems (developed at our Institute) through all possible ways and routes of radionuclide penetration into human organisms. For the most critical population group, namely fishermen, we have made conservative (maximum) IHD assessments. The obtained IHD values show a permitted risk level of less than 10−6 per year (i.e. one death for one million irradiated people). The radiation that will be created by every NPP under its future exploitation will be less by 2-3 orders than the local natural radioactive background near NPP locations. Our consideration has a universal character and may be used for decision-making on some thematic problems of atomic energy. In addition, some aspects of the application of our investigations have been presented for the great disaster at the Fukushima NPP by taking into account of its unique features. Some problems connected with the future development of atomic energy production in the world, and its risks, are also discussed. Possible nuclear terrorist attacks, and the counter measures using high technologies in the struggle with these great threats, are also under consideration.
Responders on CBRN incidents have a difficult task because they must tackle incidents effectively to avert a disaster. A malfunction of these teams can easily cause them to waver and can precipitate a full intervention. In order to prevent this, the staff goes through large-scale training which covers a wide variety of practice scenarios. Although the physical demands can be practiced in training very well, the mental aspects are often neglected. It is possible to use simulations or films and past experiences in the training, or to build at least a stress situation even if it will not come close enough to reality. In order to make the training experiences as realistic as possible, there are training suits from protective clothing manufacturers and measurement devices which can simulate an agent. But where is the stress? There is no problem if the protective suit breaks. Going on is the motto! Unfortunately, these types of training carry one evident problem, namely that there is no real CBRN danger and, therefore, they create less stress. When it is time for the real incident, everything looks a lot different. For this reason a new trend in international education is to work with real hazardous materials. The already well established “hot-education” of fire-fighters wearing SCBA for training purposes in a safe but real burning environment, is getting more accepted in the training of CBRN intervention-forces. Real PPE, the use of real measurement instruments which are showing “dangerous conditions” and the knowledge that a harmful substance is present, are coupled with confidence in equipment, a safety analysis and an emergency planning, which are preventing accidentally threatening situations.
The common understanding is that catastrophes are always human-provoked and are more social rather than physical phenomena. A catastrophe happens when a high-intensity or extreme natural event, like an earthquake, meets a vulnerable population with an unprepared decision-making authority. Environmental disasters in many cases are affected by human usage of natural resources, e.g. over-exploitation can cause man-made disasters.
The Earth's population is expanding at a rate of 1.45% annually and has a strong tendency to congregate in ever-larger and more complex urban settings. . Each of the urban areas has a unique set of systems related to security, energy, water, nutrition, economics, and the environment. In the future the urban “system of systems” will become more vulnerable to the risks from natural events such as earthquakes. The recent earthquakes prove again that for the urban areas to be safe and sustainable it is necessary to implement long-range urban planning and risk assessment tools that rely on an accurate and multi-disciplinary urban modeling. We still need and must develop tools to act as hazard scenarios, and subsequently map the parameters necessary for the long range improvement planning of cities, which will then play the role of infrastructure “keys”. The difficulty of this challenge is manifest in the spatially irregular patterns of damage that are typically observed after major earthquakes.
The prevention of catastrophes in general is a consideration of urban spatial planning and at the regional and local levels. This work focuses on urban planning criteria using as a case study the city of Sofia (capital of Bulgaria), Sofia is a growing city with a population exposed to high seismic risks since it is located in the centre of Sofia seismic area where, over the centuries, the macroseismic intensities have been larger than IX (MSK). The desk-study of the Sofia metropolitan area combined the recent tectonic and geological information to characterize and estimate displacements and amplifications due to local geological conditions. The lack of instrumental recordings for Sofia fostered the studies on deterministic earthquake scenarios for the city to compute realistic synthetic seismic signals, due to several earthquake scenarios along chosen geological profiles crossing the city. A study of the site effects, and the microzonation of a part of metropolitan Sofia based on a modelling of seismic ground motion along three cross sections, are presented. Realistic synthetic strong motion waveforms have been computed for an expected scenario earthquake (M=7) applying a hybrid modelling method, based on the modal summation technique and finite differences scheme. The site amplification is determined in terms of response spectral ratio (RSR) reciprocal of the aggravation factor (AF). The results from the study constitute a “database” that describes the ground shaking of the Sofia urban area.
An assessment of the natural and man-made disasters that have occurred in the Republic of Armenia is presented. The legal basis for regulating emergency management is provided. Improvement of the geo-information system, and the compilation of digital maps, is considered.
Landslide slope movements have led to many emergency situations in Ukrainian cities over the last several decades, like the case in Dnipropetrovsk in June 1997. To prevent such situations a forecasting system of two functionally coupled modules has been developed that includes 1) software-based analytical estimations of slope stability, and 2) the automated monitoring and informing complex “OZONE GEO”. Slope stability is assessed using the numerical models of soil mechanics that allow contouring crucial zones for landslide risk to be covered by the observation points of the “OZONE GEO” complex. Geometrical, geomechanical, and hydrogeological parameters are measured automatically using the remote control units. The data are transferred in real time and then processed for estimating the slope stability; if necessary, the system is supplied with rapid warning and decision-making units. The different variants of this system were installed for geotechnical monitoring on many sites in Ukraine during 2006-2011.
The Southern Caucasus - Eastern Turkey energy corridors are formed by several critical pipelines carrying crude oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan, via Georgia, to Turkey and world markets. The two most important pipelines are the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Crude Oil Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) Natural Gas Pipeline. At 1,768km, the BTC pipeline is one of the great engineering endeavours of the 21st century, It has a capacity to export one billion barrels of oil a day. Damage to a pipeline due to a large earthquake in one of the countries would affect directly and indirectly all the other countries that the pipeline serves, impacting large geographic regions and disrupting global economies. To our knowledge, none of these pipelines has ever been evaluated comprehensively (other than the standard code-based design studies) for their seismic safety and risk. None of the pipelines has any type of seismic monitoring system.
NATO SFP project “Seismic Hazard and risk Assessment for Southern Caucasus – Eastern Turkey Energy Corridors” aims to improve this situation by performing a comprehensive seismic hazard and risk study for the pipelines. The primary goals of the project are: (1) to assess the seismic hazard in Azerbaijan, Georgia and North Eastern Turkey; (2) to evaluate the seismic safety of the pipelines; (3) to develop efficient seismic risk monitoring and mitigation strategies; and (4) to improve environmental security in this part of the world.
The project is ongoing and at this stage a comprehensive seismic hazard study was performed for the zone of BTJ pipeline (within a 10 km buffer). On the basis of obtained data for each area's seismic sources, probabilistic seismic hazard maps were calculated. Results indicate a maximum PGA of 0.7g, and a maximum Intensity IX on the Abul fault zone and the Dmanisi fault zone, respectively.
New site classification maps were developed for the study region using geo-engineering maps and Vs30 that were calculated by seismic prospecting methods along pipelines in 30 places. Site responses to seismic events were calculated along “hot spots” of the pipeline where the pipeline technical characteristics (such as pumps, gauges, and kinks), or geological conditions, change drastically. Procedures for seismic hazard assessment (PSHA) disaggregation was studied for these “hot spots” and, based on the results, a deterministic seismic hazard for an earthquake scenario of intensity Ms = 7 at an epicentaral distance of 3km for the most vulnerable site was also conducted. Results show a maximum PGA of 0.56g for this site.
Environmental protection against mining tailings is one of the most active problems of modern society. At present the estimated reserves of Armenia's non-ferrous metallurgy on the world market scale have reached USD 20 billion. There are abundant resources of molybdenum, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, and special elements (such as rhenium, selenium tellurium, bismuth cadmium, and vanadium) in the territory of Armenia. Currently, the non-ferrous metallurgical industry is the only branch in the Republic, which realizes its production goals abroad. The most significant enterprises in this sector are copper-molybdenum, gold and multi-metal mines. At present there are more than 10 tailings dams in Armenia, all of which, with the exception of Ararat gold processing plant's tailings dam, are located in areas with complex geographical and topographic conditions, and are classified as being stream-type tailings dams. 75% of the tailings dams present in Armenia are located in the Syuniq region. Some of these have been ranked as the largest tailings dams in the world, thanks to the complexity of their geographical location, structural parameters and architectural solutions.
The paper considers the practical approaches to the risk assessment of emergency situations caused by natural and man-made processes. It determines the concepts and methods of analysis of emergency risks for the population and country, which are based on information technologies, the processing of non-uniformly scaled electronic maps, and modelling the consequences of adverse impacts from natural processes.
In many countries of the world for water supply in cities and settlements large borehole water intakes were installed and, as a result in these regions, a significant reduction in groundwater levels has occurred. In karst regions this activates land subsidence and other hazardous environmental effects. Karst is a hazardous engineering-geological process that can be especially disastrous for civil, industrial and hydrotechnical constructions. This article discusses the results of engineering-geological, hydrogeological and geophysical complex investigations that were carried out in the northern part of Syria, in the territory of Ras Al Ayn City. Karst processes have been activated during recent years in this area mainly because of human activities. A number of target maps has been drawn for the case study area including the zoning map of the karst risk and, according to the map, the city territory is divided into the three parts. The necessary engineering measures are proposed for ecological remediation of the studied area. The practical test of the proposed design method, developed for forecasting possible activation of karst phenomena, should be considered of especial importance. This proposed method for prognosis of land subsidence is recommended for use in similar physical-geological conditions.
To help avert further flooding or other similar catastrophes or man-made disasters, actions need to be taken at all levels in the view to predict, prevent and manage these situations so that human life can be saved along with a reduction in the catastrophic damage (such as loss of human life, animal life and damage to domestic property and personal belongings of families affected, infrastructure, livestock and massive amounts of crops) that extreme flooding causes.
Municipal wastewater contains numerous toxic pollutants and can seriously disturb ecological conditions of the receiving water bodies. As the urban population of most European cities is growing, the problem of adequate treatment of wastewater gains more topicality and requires more and more resources. Excessive activated sludge is one by-product of wastewater biotreatment technology. The sludge accumulates many inorganic and organic pollutants which can be released into the environment and cause serious secondary contamination of soils and groundwater as a result of improper collection and/or utilization of the separated sludge. This negative effect can be aggravated by natural decomposition of organic components of the sludge. This paper analyses the influence of routine and emergency secondary contamination of the treated and ready-to-discharge wastewater caused by storage of excessive activated sludge at the Chemivtsi wastewater treatment plant. Quantitative parameters of this influence have been determined and possible ways of mitigation are discussed.
The sources of pollution in the Dnieper and Siversky Donets river basin watershed areas are mining and smelting industries. Industrial wastewater in the above urban areas creates various risks for the environment. The result is that the volumetric share of wastewater in river flows for some rivers (such as Lugan, Vovcha, Samara, and Ingulets) ranges from one third to one half. The environmental state of the water resources of the Siversky Donets watershed area, and for some points of the Dnieper river, is assessed as being catastrophic. Water mineralization in the rivers crossing mining regions is up to 3-4.5g/l. Water in some middle and small rivers do not meet the irrigation requirements because of hazard of alkalinisation for arable lands.
The results of studies on the problems and tendencies of the increasing frequency and scales of floods in vast areas of Armenia's northern and epicentral regions, related to the adverse impact of hydro-meteorological conditions caused by global warming, are considered.
Actual and predictive estimates of factors and reasons that promote the activation of hazardous processes are represented.
Recent decades were characterized by an accelerated rhythm of industrialization and urbanization, these implying the rapid deterioration of water courses due to untreated discharges. It has been internationally acknowledged that water problems are severe, this being reflected in the growing international concern. This serious water pollution problem is because much of the sewage in urban areas goes untreated into rivers. As a result, surface waters and groundwater have been increasingly polluted due to industrial and domestic wastewater and agricultural runoff. Contamination of surface waters through the discharge of faecal material is an important water quality problem in many urban environments. The high degree of pollution of the environment as a result of human activities can turn easily into an ecological disaster. This paper examines the impact of human factors on the quality of water courses with a focus on Nicolina River which crosses the city of Iasi and flows into Bahlui River. Faecal indicators were monitored between November 2010 and January 2011 in three different sampling points along Nicolina River. High levels of total and faecal coliform bacteria were present while comparatively low levels of enterococci were found. The results suggest that higher bacterial concentrations at downstream sampling points are strongly associated with human factors.
All water objects (WO) play a very significant role in any country and their constant study is always difficult. Pollution, caused by intense increases in human activity, exacerbates the situation. The collapse of the former USSR resulted in insufficient or the absence of WO monitoring in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The monitoring was especially problematic in hard-to-access mountain regions and across borders of the former USSR republics. Preservation, safety and the correct use of WO are most real and urgent because : (i) many WO are located in mountainous, seismically active and densely populated regions that have high risks of natural and manmade catastrophes, such as earthquakes, landslips, and mudflows; as a result some WO can disappear resulting in a reduction of water reservoirs and in WO pollution; (ii) the lack of water sources, hot climate and droughts increase water consumption; (iii) WO management and safety is difficult to maintain because of the heavily complex architecture of high water dams and huge artificial reservoirs, and the significant drifts in rivers; in addition, pressure from the water mass in artificial reservoirs can stress the Earth's crust, increasing the probability of earthquakes; (iv) nuclear power plants, their heat sinks and rocket fuel tanks are often located near WO, and such objects can be the subject of terrorist attacks that may lead to global ecological catastrophes; and (v) poorly guarded borders of Chechnya, Afghanistan and other zones of frozen conflicts can further stimulate an insurgency in close proximity to WO. A recent terrorist act took place at the hydro-station in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic of Russian North Caucasus, and similar terrorist attacks could result in huge non-reversible pollution of river basins in the Caspian, Black, and Kara Seas and, consequently, the World Ocean that also determines the global climate. The mountain rivers, with their large WO in the Caucasus region and Central Asia, are considered. Because our generation has faced a growing threat of global pollution with great irreversible negative effects, countries have to coordinate all their efforts to save the environment and the population. Some our experimental and theoretical studies concerned with risk assessments, catastrophe prediction and prevention of natural and industrial WO, are presented in [2, 3] and in our international projects entitled (a). “Assessment of damage from dam destruction in hydro systems of Caucasus Kura River”; and (b). ISTC Project: “Assessing and decreasing risks of damage, caused by Tien–Shan mountain lakes outbursts”.
The Prydnieprovskiy region (Central Ukraine) is distinguished by the combination of increased natural radiation background levels, the technogenic pollution by enterprises of the primary nuclear cycle, as well as the “Chernobyl trace” at the expense of 137Cs and 90Sr. In 1986-90 there was a many-times excess of the pre-disaster levels for water and fish environments. Now there is a considerable accumulation of these radionuclides in silts, i.e. the proper risk of secondary contamination of the ecosystem. Radiation, together with agro-industrial chemical pollution, creates a significant radiation-chemical load on living organisms through both the water and food chains (especially through fish). It is found that heavy metals have a powerful modulating influence on the effects of radiation. In these conditions serious disturbances of a number of physiological and biochemical parameters are observed. A high adaptive effectiveness has been shown by humates. Further efforts are needed to reduce the population health risks from radiation-chemical pollution.