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TitleRobotic dispersal technique for 35 GBq of 140La in an L-polygon pattern
AuthorBeckman, B; Green, A R; Sinclair, LORCID logo; Fairbrother, B; Munsie, T; White, D
SourceHealth Physics vol. 118, issue 4, 2019 p. 448-457,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190003
PublisherWolters Kluwer
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsgeophysics; Science and Technology; Health and Safety; radioactivity; lanthanum; mapping techniques; equipment testing; drones; Contaminated sites
ProgramCanadian Hazard Information Service
Released2019 01 01
AbstractIn 2018, Defence Research and Development Canada, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada, led a field trial of survey and mapping of a large dispersion of radioactivity using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The intent was to disperse 140La material in a 3,200 m2 L-polygon with an approximate activity level of 10 MBq/m2 and to measure the radioactive material using sensors carried by UAVs. Due to the potential radiological hazard to personnel, the activity was approved only if Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) were able to completely handle and disperse the material remotely. One UGV was equipped with a traditional agricultural sprayer to disperse the material, and one UGV was equipped with a force feedback manipulator arm. Due to the freezing temperatures during dispersal, the 35 GBq of 140La was dispersed non-uniformly as one sprayer boom failed to perform as tested. However, rough analysis of the electronic dosimetry on the UGV concluded that 99% of the material was dispersed on the ground. The dosimeter placed closest to the robot manipulator arm, used for dispersal of material, indicated a contact dose of 33.5 mSv. The electronic dosimeter placed where the driver would have sat on the sprayer vehicle if it were not unmanned indicated a dose of 22.3 mSv. Thus, the use of UGVs for material dispersion substantially reduced the external exposure to personnel. The use of UGVs eliminated the potential of internal exposure as well. The Radiation Safety Officer received the highest dose at approximately 3 µSv, with the majority of the exposure coming from the handling of the Type A container.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
A field trial to see how well radiation-detecting UAV systems could survey and map dispersed radioactivity has been conducted. This paper presents the set up of the trials. Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) had to be developed in order to handle and disperse the radioactivity because it was highly radioactive and dangerous. The radioactivity was successfully dispersed. The use of UGVs meant that humans did not receive significant dose in setting up for the trials. Future publications will present the results of the subsequent field trials.

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