Cosmic ray and satellite monitoring for nuclear decommissioning

Abstract image of cosmic rays for nuclear decommissioning
Image: wacomka |

Monitoring technology that uses cosmic rays and Earth Observation data has been showcased by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Defence and Security Accelerator.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority revealed the technologies at the Remote Monitoring of Sensitive Sites demonstration event last week (14 June). The event highlighted the results of a £750,000 innovation programme.

Glasgow-based Lynkeos Technology presented its structural monitoring project, which uses muography. This is a technique that uses natural radiation (cosmic ray particles) to monitor complex structures and assess their integrity, including identifying any voids or any degradation of steel reinforcement bars. This project seeks to develop a portable muography capability for monitoring underground, ageing reinforced concrete infrastructure.

Guildford-based Earth-i presented an asset mapping and monitoring system that links multiple data sources. It uses high-resolution satellite Earth Observation data combined with airborne and terrestrial data sources to provide a rich set of information layers to support NDA decision-makers.

ANRA Technologies presented its unmanned mission manager to enable the remote management of autonomous systems for the monitoring of sensitive sites across the NDA estate.

ISS Aerospace presented an autonomous unmanned aerial system (UAS) with on-board real-time AI processing, capable of learning its environment. The UAS is used to respond to environmental changes detected by ground-based sensors that can collect data for temperature, humidity, noise, motion, and air quality.

Aerial robotic Swiss Army knife

Finally, Autonomous Devices presented an update on Theia, an aerial robotic Swiss Army knife for contact-based inspection, providing operators with a rapid and highly automated means of deploying sensors and cameras directly onto the most inaccessible parts of a sensitive site.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority innovation delivery manager Andrew Gray said: “It was exciting to see the range of innovative solutions developed for the competition. We are really pleased with the response and the interest it has generated across many different sectors.

“We use innovation and technology to support us in delivering our mission to clean up the UK’s oldest nuclear sites safely, securely and sustainably. These technologies could help us to improve our decision-making processes, while also moving our people further away from harm and preventing them from needing to be physically present in hazardous environments.”

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