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

  • Carlos Rojas-Palma
  • Friedrich Steinhäusler
  • Petr Kuča
Conference paper


A covert deployment of a high-strength unsealed radiation source, also known as a radiological exposure device, is often described in the literature as a potential scenario whereby a terrorist organization can create panic and disruption and affect a number of innocent people. Although this type of scenario does not involve the use of explosives, authorities need to be prepared for and also consider measurements to manage a large number of people seeking reassurance and possibly medical follow-up.

In the framework of the European Commission’s seventh framework program, security-funded project CATO (CBRN crisis management, architectures, and operational procedures), a group of scientists carried out a set of field experiments inspired by a radiological incident that took place in the highlands of Bolivia, during which an Ir-192 source was accidentally placed in the cargo bay of a bus, irradiating 55 people during an 8-hours trip. During the field experiments, a complete dosimetry study was performed by means of both thermoluminescent and electronic dosimeters deployed on water and anthropogammametric phantoms. The results provide a wealth of information that can be used to dealing with accidental radiological scenarios as well as in planning preparedness and response to malevolent uses of ionizing radiation.


Radiological exposure device Crisis management Radiological assessment 



We are grateful to the European Commission for providing funding through grant 261693 and to Mr. Rodolfo Cruz-Suarez of the IAEA for his valuable assistance with the dosimetric study.


Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Rojas-Palma
    • 1
  • Friedrich Steinhäusler
    • 2
  • Petr Kuča
    • 3
  1. 1.Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK•CEN)MolBelgium
  2. 2.Universität SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  3. 3.National Radiation Protection InstitutePragueCzech Republic

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