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Is there a reliable and fast deployable system with little human intervention for catastrophic scenarios for immediate and continuous surveillance needed in the Japanese Fukushima disaster?

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Courtesy of Saphymo

Emergency management requires fast mobile AND continuous surveillanceof gamma radiation

At nuclear disaster scenarios – like it has just occurred these days in Japan – the efficiency ofemergency management on-site as well as off-site is closely connected to the quality and reliability ofthe recent status information. As one of the essential parameters for assessing the nuclear threatsituation the gamma dose rate level provides valuable information about the radiation source term andprospective dispersion of the radiation depending on prevalent weather conditions. Thus technical staffand decision makers need to dispose of reliable online-information on the gamma dose rate within thenear and farther vicinity of the NPP, enabling them to better evaluate the unknown situation inside thereactor and also assess the degree of contamination in further away densely populated regions – in thepresent case – the greater area of Tokyo, which might be subject to radioactive contamination.

Main problems during disaster scenarios

The experiences from disasters in the past as well as from the recent accidents at the Japanese NPP ofFukushima show that there are three main problems to overcome, in order to guarantee operation of ameasurement network or extend an existing network by additional stations:

  • Electrical power blackout within large areas
  • Permanent or partial failure of public mobile communication
  • Destroyed infrastructure, very limited human resources available for installation tasks

State of the art technology able to accept these challenges

The GammaTRACER/SkyLINK gamma measurement system was designed especially to addressabove mentioned deficiencies. The reliable and well proven system allows:

  • Setting up complete gamma monitoring networks within veryshort time.
  • Deploying of smart and compact measurement stations within acouple of minutes or even seconds (e.g. by using remotelycontrolled helicopter for “dropping” probes). Generally no fences,no additional housings, no laying of cables required.
  • Collecting wireless gamma dose rate information in real time overbig distances (up to 100 km, depending on topographicalconditions)
  • High availability of system and data even in emergency scenariodue to proprietary(private) radio technology (400-500 MHz)
  • Operate the autonomous measurement stations from internal battery for months or years
  • Connection of weather stations, hand-held devices, other sensors, f. ex. for chemical monitoring,dispersion modelling possible

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