A quadcopter drone with radiation-mapping capabilities developed in the UK has been deployed at an overseas to measure levels at a ‘hazardous’ facility.
A small drone, the lightweight RISER, that was designed with NDA R&D funds, will measure radiation levels at Japan’s damaged Fukushima power plant.
The drone uses lasers to self-navigate deep inside hazardous facilities where GPS signals cannot reach, and has already been used successfully at Sellafield.
RISER- Remote Intelligence Survey Equipment for Radiation – carries a radiation detection and mapping system which has been collecting vital information about conditions in the remaining Windscale Pile chimney. More than 60 years after the 1957 fire, the chimney remains highly contaminated.
Using remotely operated equipment is the only way to establish how the chimney can be cleaned out and finally dismantled.
RISER combines two separate pieces of cutting-edge technology: drones and radiation-mapping software. Each received Research and Development funding through the NDA and fellow government agency, Innovate UK.
In 2012 the NDA joined other government organisations to invest further funds in a wide range of innovative nuclear projects, leading to the collaboration between Cockermouth-based Createc and aerial systems specialist Blue Bear, from Bedford. After a series of on-site trials at Sellafield, RISER was put into decommissioning action.