On the Reconstruction of a Radiological Incident and Its Possible Implications for an R-Type Terror Attack

Carlos Rojas Palma, Friedrich Steinhäusler, Petr Kuča

    Research outputpeer-review


    There are many ways by which bad actors could make use of radiological material to harm innocent civilians, creating uncertainties, panic, confusion, and an increasingly escalating situation from the crisis management viewpoint. These scenarios are often referred to in the literature as overt and covert attacks. A typical example of the former is the well-known radiological dispersal device (RDD), also known as dirty bomb, and another one to some extent less dramatic example as there are no explosions involved is the radiological exposure device (RED), by which an unsealed high-strength radioactive source is hidden in a public place with intention to irradiate those passing by. If one is to learn from the possible consequences of this type of radiological attack and by doing so provide crisis managers with a consequence assessment, it is beneficial to learn from past radiological accidents, such as the one that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia [1]. In the framework of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program for security research, the CATO project [2] (CBRN crisis management, architecture, technologies, and operational procedures) was to develop guidelines for first responders as well as assess and evaluate a prototype decision support system for CBRN preparedness and resilience. For this purpose, the CATO project organized several “field experiments,” which were to perform and impact assessment of an RDD (the results are classified) and another set of experiments inspired on the Cochabamba radiological incident. The CATO project drew its conclusions from theses and extracted some learnings to dealing with RED type of scenarios. The following sections elaborate in more detail on this second scenario.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnhancing CBRNE Safety & Security: Proceedings of the SICC 2017 Conference
    Number of pages5
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
    Event2017 - 1st scientific international conference on CBRNE - National Fire Academy (Istituto Superiore Antincendi - ISA) , Rome
    Duration: 22 May 201724 May 2017


    Conference2017 - 1st scientific international conference on CBRNE
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