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Japan to develop drones to monitor radiation

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© 2012 AFP

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Don't see the need for this project.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Drones aren't going to improve testing/reporting ethics nor increase independently verifiable awareness of the problem.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It's good to have an option for measuring radioactivity in mountainous areas, and this might even be useful in search and rescue operations, but I suspect this is really going to be a military tool, sooner or later.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Godan beat me...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why not invest the huge sums of money spent on drones to improving renewable energy systems a la Germany?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The radiation is down on the ground where most carbon based creatures live.

14 ( +13 / -0 )

Quote: " The clean-up is proceeding slowly, amid warnings that some towns could be uninhabitable for three decades."

"For three decades"? Only 30 years? Are they saying that in 30 years all will be clean and radiation-free again?

Shouldn't that be for "an optimistic minimum of three decades"?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While I think it is not a bad idea to know where and how much radiation is out there (provided the readings are reliable), I tend to agree with you, Rick Kisa: finally spending some money on other alternative energy sources would be wise. In a way it would be a bit silly otherwise of Germany to do all the right things when the rest of the world around them keep doing them same as always. And Japan, right now, is not only increasing its carbon footprint to size 13, it is also spending a fortune on it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Stay on topic please. Germany is not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't criticize this. It could fly at whatever altitude is necessary (even near ground level) and the technology could be used for other purposes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They need to spend that money to make a bubble around the rest of the country for when the radiation does spread!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Plenty of drones available and ready to go at Nagatacho - just ship them out to monitor the Fukushima radiation and do something useful for a change.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just did a Google search of available UAVs (drones) and there is a plethora of them already developed, proven and in use. Some systems go for under $50,000. Sounds a lot like re-inventing the wheel to me.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The clean-up is proceeding slowly, amid warnings that some towns could be uninhabitable for three decades.

and others might not be inhabitable for centuries??

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a cover to start developing domestic technology for drones.

A helicopter could easily suffice if the government were truly only concerned about measuring radiation.

Drones are set to be the future of warfare, policing and "community management", and Japan wants in on the technology.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

No need to spend money to develop ew drones - plenty available in Nagatacho,,just ship them out to do the monitoring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So Japan is going to copy the US?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

GodanJun. 13, 2012 - 08:08AM JST Don't see the need for this project.

One of the problems during Fukushima was that their airborne radiation measurements were way off. Helicopters effectively "push" off the ground, stirring up heavier radioactive particles on the ground and making them airborne briefly (while they're checking radiaton levels = false reading), and they can't fly very high.

Drones truly fly, can glide during measurements to get accurate measurements of air, can access higher mountainous areas to see how much radiation will be in the spring melt, and other things.

A major concern for surrounding countries is how much of the radiation is reaching the jet stream and being spread internationally. Drones can fly much higher and measure this radiation and give accurate information to surrounding countries on radiation levels.

Does that explain the need for this type of measurement?

What I don't see is why it's headline news. All they're doing is taking existing drone technology, slapping on an airborne geiger counter and treating it like it's something fantastic and new. I suggested using drones in Fukushima last year.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Should they have radiation monitoring posts all over Japan. It's not like there is only one nuclear plan. With 54 plants all over Japan, it looks like the only safe location may be Wakanai.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wasting my precious taxes again these morons, when they can clearly buy of the shelf or they shud just head to Nagatacho many thousnads of drones there already, just put a few in a hotair balloon & send on their way!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just an excuse to introduce the domestic surveillance drones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OMG!! Does this they will start using these drones for not only fighting against radiation but also against terrorism??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, we need drones to monitor the radiation after the MELTDOWN.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"...to monitor radiation."

Sure...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You know, these Canadians already have a cheap system ready to go. http://www.aeryon.com/products/avs.html No production lead time issues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't a drone a mindless and autonomous entity that toils at a single job without wavering or questioning the ethics of such an endeavor? I think they already have a few hundred of these toiling away at the Fukushima radiation leak problem already.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mitsubishi heavy industry was finded for over charging on these contracts, billions of yen. Now they get a second bite. Good to see my tax not just servicing the debt but adding to it. Fantastic. My grandchildren say thank you, please sir may I have some more!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's Nuclear Energy Authority has found another expensive way to keep us distracted from (Truth) and (common sense!). I'm happy to notice many of you see through this!.

gogogo has said a lot, with very few words!

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Also, send prisoners condemned to death to go check it out. And TEPCO executives, of course. Dreaming on...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YO, they do Robocon every year in this country. Robot wars and battles. Why can't the universities make their own UAVs?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@wasabizuki:

Well there is so much wrong with your post I don't know where to start.

First, modern UAV are not just rc toys. many are capable of autonomous flight from take of to landing using GPS waypoints..

Second, the tracking systems you describe already exists.

Third, as I recollect, the Wright brothers are credited with developing the first powered airplane.

Fourth, this has nothing to do with Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the resilience of the Japanese or a Rocketdyne incident that happened in the 60s.

Fifth, it has nothing to do with Japan following the U.S. as other posters have stated there are UAVs manufactured by many other countries. You are just U.S. bashing as usual.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The japanese are resilient and tough to the things others are chicken about.

Humans and, for that matter, most life is resilient. About 175k yago our species was down to a few thousand roaming Africa. Yeah, we are resilient and recovered. People know that. On the other hand, individually, this sucks -that's what people care about. That's why people are outraged. People want and require something to be done. That's their right and they must, must with all their vigor demand vigilance and redress.

While it's of historical interest what happened in Russia or the US regarding their nuclear accidents, it's irrelevant to people in Japan. Moreover, only one nuclear accident in the whole world exceeded the largest accident -the Ukranian one. We're not talking 3MI's here. And please, don't compare the 1960s to the 2010s. That's disingenuous.

Your whole rant is about trying to deflect. To what end?

UAVs are not "RC airplanes" no more than "RC cars" are equal to automobiles. UAVs have endurance, tie in with satellite navigation and can be put into autopilot with a prescribed route. In addition, they can carry payload/equipment/sensors for remote reconnaissance/telemetry, etc.

This could also be addressed by satellites --altho at an order of magnitude more cost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cash for crap, it's already available, off the shelf. But business wants to milk the tax payer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like zichi said, the radiation threat is more prevalent on the ground. Drones flying high above won't be able to get accurate readings, unless their instruments can be calibrated in-flight to make them more sensitive to ground radiation. Or maybe they intend to have some sort of dosimeter launch system installed? Still, it's nice to know that they're starting to get innovative about resolving (or at least monitoring, in this case) the radioactive threat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yes, the drones are obviously unnecessary to observe radioactives. its might be only an excuses to begin developping military weapon. i think the purpose would be to improve drone technology for the future selling japanese weapon to oversea. japan is struggling to find next exporting products to keep her competitive power.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i think the purpose would be to improve drone technology for the future selling japanese weapon to oversea

Yeah, because drones are highly secret technology no-one could reproduce and second, the drone market is worth trillions.[1]

[1]Drone tech is not that hard and it's also a small market (it's definitely, definitely NOT going to pull Japan's economy out of its free-fall any more than a cottage industry of left-handed basket weavers would)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Buy the ones the US use in Pakistan, strap a geiger counter onto it, job done.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its already available, off the shelf for a lot less then this will cost. Just another rort of tax payers money for no end. Except business makes money. They are not even pretending to be nationalistic anymore, just our cash over and over again.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Drones collecting air samples would reveal the movements of radiative air-borne particles. Nothing an aircraft guided by humans couldn't do much cheaper and with same level of safety.

Drone development serves only weapons development, just like Japan's increasing accumulation of weapons grade plutonium.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So what is the problem with men in standard airplanes?

I think they are just using the radiation problem as an excuse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@edwardstark:

No, radiation is actually really bad for people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

why dont they just install sensors. drones will be a waste of taxpayer money

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't see the need for this project.

Dont see the...really??! Cmon Godan - isnt it obvious??! Amakudari is drying up in the nuclear field these days after all the bad press, and these boys in Nagatacho need somewhere to play once they are put out to pasture. Those lucrative cushy posts dont come free you know. You have to do a bit of networking here, put in a few good words there, hand over a few heavy industry construction projects to companies to invent what has already been invented, and so on.

Yes, I get that Canada and various other places have already got this technology, but dont you realise that Japanese radiation is differentto western radiation??!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

japan to develop a device which attract radioactive air and water and convert it into electricity!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No, radiation is actually really bad for people.

If the radiation they are tracing were so strong that it was unsafe for men to fly around to measure the levels from a distance, then the entire country would be pretty well screwed.

The levels of radiation that will ever need to be measured by drone will be low enough that men can fly over. If they weren't, there would be absolutely no point in flying anything over.

They can continue with the RC helicopters, and where they can't be used, manned airplanes can.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually for weather research already this technology exists.

One the one hand meterological ballons, and on the other hand the "Zeppelin" technology. Not so good for military use, but perfect for data taking of air samples.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remote-controlled helicopters have been used but are not suitable for remote and mountainous territory as they have to fly low and the operator has to be able to see the aircraft, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

But unmanned aircraft could fly at higher altitudes over potentially contaminated areas, resolving the issue.

Huh? one paragraph is low the second is high. Which is the problem now? Make up your mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go to an electronics store, get a radio controlled vehicle, then a radio controlled helicopter, then another radio controlled plane. Call it RadioBirds. Have stations all over the country, then make an anime out of it. Lots of jobs and cashola for everyone

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Eye-in-the-sky. It'll start under the monitoring radiation excuse, but will morph and spread until it's used for overall surveillance. Big Brother watching you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Big Brother watching you.

Huh? Do you keep looking up at the sky as you walk? You know it can't see your face from its heights --it would only see the top of your head/hat/helmet/etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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