Launched in March 2019, CBRN Chemical Biological Radiology and nuclear (Chemical Biological Radiology and nuclear) Centres of Excellence Project 73 is implemented to benefit partner countries in the Middle East region, specifically: Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. The countries are facing challenges driven not only by political, economic and social stresses but also by environmental, population, climate and food stresses. In the field of civil protection and CBRN security, critical assets across the Middle East region face threats from non-state actors who are determined to destabilise partner countries and create public unrest. Securing critical national infrastructure includes both the physical facilities that supply communities in partner countries with goods and services, like water, transportation, fuel and the communication and cyber technology that connects people and supports the critical infrastructure systems. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has been extended with a COVID-19 support programme.

Goal of the project

The project's overall objective was to achieve enhanced CBRN of specific physical and virtual critical civil infrastructure. This was enacted to enhance protection and preparedness against attacks that may include CBRN materials, which is critical to regional security and stability. A reduction in the vulnerabilities of critical assets, systems and networks will result in a more resilient critical national infrastructure. 

Geographical location

Middle East: The Republic of Lebanon, The Republic of Iraq, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Who were involved

Project 73 involved experts from large companies, government, small and medium enterprises and academia. These partners were actively involved in the project. The project’s consortium consisted of the project leader Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN) and Security and Freedom for Europe (SAFE), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Landau Network Fondazione Volta (LNFV).


  • Risk assessment on critical infrastructure in Jordan
  • Products developed for pandemics preparedness and response
  • eLearning: Safe sampling of viral material using throat and nasopharyngeal swabs
  • eLearning: Validation and worksflows in SARS-CoV-2 testing centers


  • Highlights in pandemics preparedness and response
  • NGS Next Generation Sequencing (Next Generation Sequencing) training course for Jordanian scientists in pathogen discovery. This event will took place from the 17th October till the 21st of October. 


RIVM role

Within this project, RIVM uses its expertise on CBRN preparedness and response, water, sanitation, hygiene, and global health. RIVM is involved in Work Package 2: conducting risk identification and assessment and developing the risk mitigation guidelines for critical water treatment and supply infrastructures in Jordan. The work package leader SCK-CEN and RIVM will take responsibility for actioning this work package to develop a methodology for the identification of risks and threats. Once this is complete, RIVM will implement, in assistance to the country's authorities and in close collaboration with regional experts, improvement of protection, security and preparedness of water infrastructures to CBRN risks and threats and support the installation of appropriate CBRN detection systems. 

RIVM is also involved in Work Package 10: COVID-19 support to Lebanon Iraq and Jordan. In this work package, experts of RIVM and consortium partners are providing support via train the trainer programmes involving E-learning and E-workshops as well as by providing technical guidance for COVID-19 response and acquisition of critical equipment such as PPE, laboratory tests and physical infrastructure. Key partners include relevant international and national organisations and institutes, including WHO, CBRN National Commissions and local hospitals. The biosecurity and biosafety team at RIVM is responsible for executing work under Work Package 2 and 10 within the wider project framework.