Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR HAZARD TRACKING 48 August/September 2018 unmanned systems inside During an emergency, facility personnel are typically sent out in pairs to acquire data from the moving plume, said Keith Lovendale, President and CEO of RADeCO. One collects radiation levels while the other drives the ve- hicle. The information gathered is sent back to the plant so workers responding can compare the plume model to the actual dose rate. The model is created to determine how far and where the plume is going to travel. "The teams are sent out to areas based on wind direction and the plume models," Lovendale said. "Once they get to the plume, they traverse across the plume to find the center, which is where they'll find the highest radiation dose. They make notes of where the highest rate is and where there is no rate. They also might take air samples if there's a ground plume situation." The challenge is, these teams can only collect a ground level dose rate. Drones can quickly and easily find the center with one employee and without the need to put anyone in harm's way—collecting data these facilities never have been able to collect before. "They can't see where the true center of the plume is, which is elevated some distance above the ground," Lovendale said. "With a drone, you can pull sample data from the center of the plume, which provides more ac- curate, useful information we didn't have ac- cess to before. This data can be compared to the model so evacuation plans can be changed as needed." Charlotte UAV's industrial X8 configured system, known as the RadKnight Duke, can be equipped with various radiation detec- tion instrumentation to provide real-time radiological data through the Mirion Flight Control System and SPIR-Ident Software. As the UAS collects data, the user on the ground receives a live stream of a spectrum of colors and GPS tags that shows the strength of the radiation as well as a map of where it's coming from, combining the onboard GPS data with the detector output. Flying the UAS not only reduces radiation exposure levels for personnel and the man hours necessary to collect the levels, it also pro- vides access to and maps of areas people and cars simply can't reach. Many nuclear facilities are located in rural areas, which makes it dif- ficult to get to the plume as the wind carries it away from the plant, said Kip Kelley, a techni- cal sales engineer for Mirion Technologies. The FlyCam UAV platforms, the Neo Octo Drone and the Zoe Quad Drone, are all- weather systems that can carry two radio- logical sensors—a plume sniffer and an alpha beta gamma search tool for fixed sources other than a plume, both from US Nuclear Corp. The sensors provide radiation levels in real time, eliminating the need for personnel to put on Photo courtesy of Mark Roberson of Goldfinch Sensor Technologies and Analytics LLC. RADI ION DETECTION 3-D MOUNTING BRACKET Goldfi nch Sensor Technologies and Analytics created a 3-D printed mounting bracket to hold a radiation detector to measure the levels and types of radioactive materials. The bracket was part of a proposal to show how a UAS could be used to map radioactive areas. "THE FIRST THING TO DO IS MAKE THE SENSORS SMALL AND LIGHTWEIGHT SO THEY CAN GO ON THE DRONE WITHOUT OVERPOWERING THEM." Bob Goldstein, CEO, US Nuclear Corp

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