We've seen already a small UAV flying around the nuclear reactor and providing hires imagery. Would it be possible to use drones to measure radiation?
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Measure radiation is not like measure temperature. Basically the problem with radiation are the various isotopes and the kind of energy loadad into the particles that spread and fly around. In nuclear accidents like Fukushima the energy in the particles isn't so bis as - let's say - in a nuclear explosion, where direct radiation can go really far. Tschernobyl spreaded a huge amount of radioactive material due to the explosion that occurred in the reactor. Alpha particles don't go so far, and beta ones not much more than 10m. Dpending of the energy level they have.
So the geiger tube on a UAV will not detect the effective level of radiation danger if it's not flying close to the radiation source. Maybe a quadcopter can do this. But a fixed wing UAV can't d that. I actually have a geiger counter (i build it already 1987) and I was thinking to somthing similar too. But the best method would be to collect particles from the air in a container (maybe a tume with akind of filter) and measure the collected dust, dirt or wathever one the uav is back. I Switzerland Airforce is measuring radiation with a Pod like that. They don't have a geiger counter on the plane. Once they land someone analyze the content collected during the flight.
May be you could do it. You do not need to put the sensor open because the radiotion can easly pass through the objects around. In the incident at Fukushima they could even sense the radiation from 20 Km away from the source in ground level. If you use an UAV for the same purpase the range will be more.
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