Low-Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as a Tool for the Remediation of Radiologically Contaminated Environments

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Following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) in March 2011, significant quantities of radioactive material were released into the local Japanese as well as the wider global environment. At the fifth anniversary of the incident, much work and expense is still being dedicated to the remediation of a large area of eastern Japan, contaminated primarily with radio-caesium. Due to the complex topography of the geographical area of Japan effected, it is important to understand contaminant evolution/migration at the greatest possible resolution – previous methods have lacked this.

An increase in the spatial resolution of radiation mapping over other previous methods has been achieved through the deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The platform used during this work combined a low-altitude multi-rotor UAV with a lightweight radiation mapping system to achieve sub-meter resolution. Using this system it was possible to measure the distribution of radionuclide contamination at a number of sites within the Fukushima Prefecture region of Japan. Unlike ground-based surveys conducted on foot by humans that attain a comparable resolution, such a system eliminates the potentially significant dose that would otherwise be received, as well as the influence of shielding on results.

In addition to providing a rapid and high resolution response to radiological incidents, such monitoring technology has the potential to be a powerful tool in post-operational clean-out (POCO) at nuclear sites undergoing decommissioning worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2016
EventWM2016 - Phoenix Conference Centre, Phoenix, Arizona, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Mar 201610 Mar 2016


CountryUnited Kingdom
CityPhoenix, Arizona

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