TOKYO--Japanese authorities are planning to use a Honeywell T-Hawk micro air vehicle to check radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, while unmanned drone helicopters from France are also joining the effort.
Small enough to fit in a backpack, Honeywell's T-Hawk can do vertical takeoffs and landings and hover in place while monitoring a target. The U.S. government apparently proposed it for checking radiation levels at spent nuclear fuel pools at the plant, according to a Kyodo News report.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been trying to cool the spent fuel in the pools with water. Radiation around the pools is believed to be very high, hindering workers' efforts to restart cooling systems. There are over 10,000 spent fuel rods at the site.Related links Qinetiq robo-loaders heading to Fukushima Where are the robots in Japan's nuclear crisis? Nuclear-site app pinpoints plants From Tokyo to California, radiation tracking gets crowdsourced Poll: Do nuclear power plants scare you?
The 17-pound T-Hawk can fly to 10,000 feet and work in 20-knot winds, with a top speed of 46 mph and operating time of 56 minutes. It can operate autonomously or by remote control. Check out the vid below for details. … Read more