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3D unmanned aerial vehicle radiation mapping for assessing contaminant distribution and mobility.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jun 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 24 May 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Oct 2016


Following the events of March 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, significant quantities of radioactive material were released into the local and wider global environment. At five years since the incident, much expense is being currently devoted to the remediation of a large portion of eastern Japan contaminated primarily by radiocesium, yet further significant expenditure will be required over the succeeding decades to complete this clean-up. People displaced from their homes by the incident are now increasingly keen to return, making it more important than ever to provide accurate quantification and representation of any residual radiological contamination. Presented here is the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a laser rangefinder unit to generate a three dimensional point-cloud of an area onto which a radiation contamination map, also obtained concurrently via the unmanned aerial platform, can be rendered. An exemplar site of an un-remediated farm consisting of multiple stepped rice paddy fields with a dedicated irrigation system was used for this work. The results obtained show that heightened radiological contamination exists around the site within the drainage network where material is observed to have collected, having been transported by transient water runoff events. These results obtained in May 2014 suggest that a proportion of the fallout material is highly mobile within the natural environment and is likely to be transported further through the system over the succeeding years.

    Research areas

  • RADIATION, Radiation Mapping, Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, Contamination, Nuclear Energy, UAV, Geophysics

    Structured keywords

  • Cabot Institute Natural Hazards and Disasters Research

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  • Martin et al 2016

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Elsevier at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 2.51 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


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