UK: The University of Warwick, UK, has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Hexacopter, which will be used to map the interiors of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site. The Hexacopter would help the experts who are trying to make radioactive silos at the Sellafield safe, as part of a decommissioning and cleaning process.
“Sellafield doesn”t have a huge amount of confidence about what they have inside some of these buildings,” said Richard Seager, the university”s business development manager. “They want to send some kind of craft into these places to do a detailed survey and they approached us to develop a UAV.”
Hexacopter has six separate rotary engines. It is also equipped with LiDAR (light detection and ranging), remote-sensing technology that uses lasers to create detailed three-dimensional images which can be viewed from any angle.
“The Hexacopter can scan the interior surface. It is autonomous and can fly for about 20 minutes,” said Seager.
“The craft was designed for the mapping of the interiors of buildings. Its USP is mapping inside buildings that may have been contaminated, or are difficult to access by other means. The model has potential military spin-offs,” he added.
There are more than 1,000 installations at Sellafield, a 6 sq km site in Cumbria that has been the hub of the UK”s nuclear industry for decades.
A multibillion-pound clean-up operation is under way at the plant where a number of old ponds and silos, many dating back to the 1950s and 60s, have been causing greatest concern.
Source: The Guardian