Providing faster information to help first responders better manage the control zone at a CBRNe incident


is a new research and innovation project, funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme


A step change in the effectiveness of first responders during the first hours of a Radiological, Nuclear, explosive (RNe) incident

TERRIFFICTools for early and Effective Reconnaissance in cbRne Incidents providing First responders Faster Information and enabling better management of the Control zone

The threat on society posed by so-called dirty bombs is increasing. A dirty bomb, or radiological dispersal device (RDD), is a speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives.

The TERRIFFIC project brings together 10 European organisations, working together to deliver an important step change in the effectiveness of first responders during the first hours of a Radiological, Nuclear, explosive (RNe) incident. This will lead to reduced response times, less health and safety risks for the response teams, and less human intervention in the operation due to a higher number of automated processes and extended mobile detection capabilities.

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The first hours of the response to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, explosive (CBRNe) incident, and especially a radiological one, are critical. Responders want to contain the most severe consequences, halt the ongoing threat, save victims, manage the crime scene and organise an effective response as quickly as possible.

It is also when they are most at risk as the extent and intensity of the contamination is still unknown and there may be secondary devices or contaminated objects.





All aspects of the project are practitioner-driven.


The impact that dirty bombs have both on individuals and on our wider society should not be underestimated. The TERRIFFIC partners will be working hard over the next three years, together with leading CBRNe experts and practitioners, to develop tools and solutions to help them manage such a situation whenever and wherever it occurs.

CATO Final Conference video stills on November 2014

TERRIFFIC is SME-led and practitioner-driven. The R&D partners will provide leading edge technologies and key innovative components will be developed by SMEs that are already involved in military or first responder markets. Together they will develop and commercialise the TERRIFFIC System and its components. First responders and CBRNe experts will be heavily involved throughout the development process; they will assess the various components and they will trial and evaluate the technology.


The project will also leverage results from previously successful European research projects and will cooperate closely with sister projects, including ENCIRCLE on the CBRN Cluster and eNOTICE on training and technology testing and assessment.


When a dirty bomb explodes, CBRNe first responders need to know how large the radiation plume is and estimate how far and how quickly it will spread. The size of the bomb, the source of the radiation and the wind and weather are all factors that are used to determine this. The initial estimations, regularly updated by data fed back from mobile detectors into the plume modelling software are used to provide a more accurate and dynamically updated assessment of the contaminated area and the control zone. Responders are then able to use this data to decide on the appropriate size of the cordon and any buildings that may need to be evacuated.

The overarching objective is, therefore, to collect and update this information much more quickly, whilst in parallel the responders prepare to intervene or indeed have already started to intervene.

TERRIFFIC Concept of Operations

TERRIFFIC Concept of Operations

The TERRIFFIC solutions will result in less human intervention in the operation, as a direct result of the higher number of automated processes, as well as improved and extended mobile detection capabilities in the ‘hot zone’.

The individual technological components needed for a significant improvement in this respect have progressively emerged over the past decade and include new detectors, drones, robots, dispersion models, information management and decision support software (DSS) packages.

The dynamically updated information made available by the TERRIFFIC system and its components will enable the response team to intervene immediately, as adequate safety measures can be rapidly implemented.

The TERRIFFIC solutions will have a significant impact for CBRNe responders in the early hours of an incident.