Belgium to use drones for high-precision nuclear radiation monitoring

Belgium wants to use drones to study areas for potential radioactive contamination and to monitor nuclear radiation during crises without any human intervention.

So Belgian nuclear research center SCK CEN and aerospace company Sabca are joining forces to equip drones with radiation measuring equipment – a scintillation counter. As a result of this public-private partnership, nuclear radiation measuring drones will soon be used as a part of monitoring programs, during decommissioning projects, and for emergency planning.

Sabca is developing both fixed-wing and multirotor drones to measure radioactivity. The radiation detector is also being designed specially to ensure it does not exceed the maximum payload limit and retains the highest possible sensitivity of the measurement. Johan Camps, who is heading SCK-CEN’s Crisis Management and Decision Support unit, explains how the detector works:

The device measures radioactivity by counting flashes of light caused by the…