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How drones can help nuclear power plants reach ALARA goals

Nuclear power plants can be hazardous places to work. There are often situations where workers are called to enter high-dose areas to ensure the safety of the plant. With the rise of commercial UAVs, it is now possible to sometimes save people from these dangerous exposures. These robots can help plants reach their ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Possible) goals.

Meet Elios, the collision proof drone

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Used in the nuclear industry in five countries and equipping more than 30% of all U.S. nuclear plants, Elios is deployed to prevent sending workers to perform visual inspections in radioactive environments, increasing workplace safety.
 
Among the most successful use cases of Elios, a major US utility saved half a million in loss of production in a single flight by sending the Elios to check for a suspected leak in the basement of a reactor, while under operation without exposing their workers to radiation. Elios can successfully perform at a dose rate of 800 Rem/Hour (8 Sv/Hour).
 
 

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Use Cases

With its HD and thermal camera, Elios is commonly used to inspect for leaks in boilers, heater bays, steam jet air ejector rooms, rad-waste areas, and fuel recycling areas.It is also used to inspect main steam isolation valve rooms and drywell entries, as well as the condition of rad-waste tanks. With Elios, you can read meters in high-dose areas and assess the condition of the equipment in the condenser bay. Finally, as in any other industry, Elios can be used in most indoor places that are difficult to access without scaffolding or other equipment.
 

Cyber Security

Because neither Elios nor the RC and its tablet need to be connected to the internet, there is no risk of data leaks: all of the images are stored on an SD card on the unit and updates can be done offline. The live video feed is transferred through a secured 2.4 GHz down link, which does not interfere with the other signals in the plant.
 

Accessibility

Elios is a drone designed to be used indoors. Indoor usage of UAVs is not regulated by the FAA, meaning that no specific authorization is required to operate it. With two days of training, which are included with the purchase of a unit, and a little practice, anyone can send this inspection tool through complex indoor systems.

Learn more about ALARA here.

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