The British government has announced plans to use drones for nuclear dismantling operations.
On January 6, the British government showed its interest in the use of drones in the nuclear field. In fact, the contribution of these aircraft to the dismantling of nuclear infrastructures is being studied in order to increase safety in these critical installations. More generally, drones could also be used for conducting external but also internal inspections or for analyzing radiation via the carrying of specific sensors. In addition to mission safety, the use of drones for certain types of missions would make it possible to go faster and limit costs. Indeed, inspection missions often prove to be long and costly when carried out with traditional means, therefore by man. In a nuclear environment, there is also a risk of exposure to radiations, requiring many precautions to be taken.
Under the scope of research, the Nuclear Dismantling Authority (NDA) conducted several tests, using a wide range of drones. They have inspected pipelines, tall chimneys, roofs and radioactive facilities. They have collected high-quality visual images, measured the temperature of vessels, found areas of radioactivity and accurately mapped legacy facilities”, specifies the UK government.
The conclusions of these tests are positives and the NDA is now pushing for the use of drones in radioactive environments and for the monitoring of the drone field in order to identify the most suitable solutions.