Skip to main content

Flight of the Drones

cache_1327273202 Here come the French:

Three unmanned helicopters are set to be shipped to Japan from France shortly so that Japanese authorities can use them to monitor the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the developer of the drones said Wednesday.

Helipse said it developed the helicopters equipped with radiation sensors, infrared thermometers and cameras in response to an order from Japanese authorities last Thursday.

The helicopters can maneuver automatically and fly for 30-60 minutes at a time, it said.

That’s the whole story, so we paid a visit over to Helipse to see if we could learn more. Well, it hasn’t updated its news page since last November and its English page was apparently translated by Google, so nothing specific. But I suspect they are sending over their HE300. The company describes it like this:

Le modèle HE300 est appareil de grande taille avec une capacité d'emport de charge élevée, supérieure à 20 kg.

Il a été dessiné pour répondre à des missions particulières telles que ; l'emport de camera professionnelle, camera thermique refroidie, capteurs diverses de mesure, topographie, emport de réservoir pour la pulvérisation etc. , ainsi que des missions de grandes distances.

En effet, grâce à sa capacité de charge utile et à l'adjonction de réservoirs supplémentaires, la durée des vols peut atteindre 2 heures, et son rayon d'action plus de 10 Kms, (suivant le type de transmission radio embarquée).

Which may well translate as (my attempt):

The HE300 model has a large-load carrying capacity of greater than 20 kg.

It was designed to run specific kinds of missions, including those requiring items such as a photographic camera, a cooled thermal camera, various types of sensors for measuring and/or surveying work or a tank for spraying [whatever needs spraying, assumedly], etc.

It can also cover great distances. Indeed, thanks to its capacity and ability to carry additional fuel tanks, it has a potential flight duration of up to 2 hours and can be operated at a distance of over 10 km (depending on the type of radio included).

That lines up with the Kyodo story pretty well. Good for Helipse – we’ve seen some other companies that have supplied their products for use at Fukushima – and have been impressed that they’ve been so low key about doing so. Well, if they don’t want to promote themselves, we have no problems doing a bit of it for them. Angels on earth, surely.

The Helipse HE300.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…