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Publication - Dr Oliver Payton

    Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Examining Current and Evolving Distribution of Contamination from the FDNPP Accident


    Martin, P, Yamashiki, Y, Scott, T, Payton, O, Richards, D & Fardoulis, J, 2017, ‘Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Examining Current and Evolving Distribution of Contamination from the FDNPP Accident’. in: Waste Management Symposia 2017: Proceedings of a meeting held 5-9 March 2017, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Waste Management Symposia, Inc.


    Estimates as well as subsequent measurements of the radiation released following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 place the incident as the second greatest nuclear event to have ever occurred – duly rated at the maximum of Level 7 on the INES Event Scale. The releases of radioactivity from the plant were detected worldwide, however the multi-reactor nature of the events at the FDNPP has complicated the understanding of the radionuclide release inventory and the subsequent distribution of the material.
    As a result of this highly-complex release scenario, it is important to understand the current and evolving state of contamination within the rapidly evolving, topographically extreme and frequently typhoon impacted environment on Japan’s eastern coast.
    Existing systems rely either on high-altitude manned aircraft to perform such contamination surveys, correcting results to ground-level, or, on humans manually measuring the dose-rate on foot. In order to overcome the shortcomings of both methods, a low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been developed at the University of Bristol and successfully deployed to the affected areas surrounding the FDNPP. In contrast to these other methods; the use of low-altitude UAVs provides a spatial resolution previously achievable only through the deployment of humans on the ground, with the potential for significant radiation exposure. This high-resolution monitoring allows for subsequent modelling to inform our understanding of the behaviour and long-term stability of the fallout material.

    Full details in the University publications repository