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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cause problems over time by contaminating drinking water or the food supply. "We want to do spatiotemporal analysis of residual radia- tion," Roberson said. "They already know there's radioactive iodine-129 present on the site and which areas it's elevated in. They need to know how it's changing over time." Rain storms can alter the patterns of the low level radiation at the top, but it's not easy to predict how. Monitoring the sites and feeding the information back into a risk analysis system will help. And because the drone will be operating at a DOE site, security measures have to be very tight, Roberson said. The drone also must be robust and reliable. "It has to integrate location and time along with the readings from the scintillator," Roberson said. "If the scintillator is f ly- ing along and says it sees so much iodine-129 and leftover 131 along with some naturally occurring radioactive potassium, it creates a map that shows it saw this much of certain materials at this location and this much at this location. The map will evolve over time, especially after heavy rains. This will provide input into policy decision making. The technology offers the possibility of providing targeted quantitative assessment of the change in radiation distribution, which would guide remedia- tion efforts." Roberson hopes to be under contract with the DOE and beginning the development process soon. If that happens, the first phase will last about nine months with the goal to show the feasibility of the solution. There's also the possibility of a second phase if the first is successful. A BRIGHT FUTURE Radiation detection and monitoring is just two of many drone applications the nuclear industry will continue to explore. The possibility of using drones to inspect a variety of assets to check for leaks, cracks and other issues is generating a lot of interest, as are more security-related applications that help keep these facilities and their workers safe. While a UAS certainly isn't the only tool, it's becoming a more effective tool that the nuclear industry is trusting more and more—a trend experts expect to continue as the technol- ogy evolves and employees become more comfortable operating these systems. "The UAV industry is growing at a rapid pace," Johnson said. "The nuclear industry is taking note, and looking to see how they can incorporate these technologies into their plants to make them safer, more efficient and more cost effective." ENGINEERING. POLICY. PRACTICE. December 2017/January 2018 unmanned systems inside 55

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