Unmanned aircraft to measure radiation in Japan

Japanese authorities are planning to develop a 2.6-metre-long drone that could be launched in contaminated areas to measure radioactivity.

The drone is jointly developed by Japan’s atomic energy authority and the national space agency.

The authorities have previously tried other solutions, like remote-controlled helicopters. This idea has not functioned well, as the helicopters had to fly low and the operators had to see them, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency explained.

An unmanned aircraft, on the other hand, could fly much higher over the contaminated areas.

The drone prepared now will have a 4.2 metre-wingspan. It could help measure the radiation in areas around the Fukushima plant, as toxic substances were spread as far as several hundred kilometres by wind and rain, after last year’s nuclear accident.