A drone manufactured to measure radiation levels has been developed by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency and the Japanese Space Exploration Agency. It is operated using a remote control and unlike manned aircrafts, it has the option to fly lower, with a minimum of 300 meters in altitude.
As the earthquake and tsunami hit area of Fukushima killed 15,000 people and 3,000 more missing, it also affected the nearby nuclear power plant, causing a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, that is reportedly more damaging than Chernobyl. With nuclear levels running higher than the acceptable limit for human exposure, the decommissioning process at the plant has been running into delays. The drone was launched to fly around the Fukushima plant and measure radiation levels, taking off around six kilometers away from the damaged power plant in Namie City. While flying for thirty minutes, it was able to collect radiation levels in real-time and went back to the scientists for analysis of data.
The drone’s flight went around the plant and the land around it. It was necessary to follow that flight plan to ensure that information gathered is exact, as it will be more beneficial for scientists analyzing the data. The team of experts is planning to conduct more flights to further test the drones and how effective they will be in detecting radiation. Full use of the drones at the nuclear are to be expected by 2015.
[via Yahoo News]