Five ships of the Norwegian Coast Guard will soon be provided with drones with radiation detectors as standard. The measure was taken due to concerns about the increasing number of nuclear ships and floating nuclear power plants in international waters around Norway. The drones can be used to measure the spread of radioactive materials in the event of a nuclear incident at sea.
In the international waters around Norway and in the Arctic, nuclear-powered cargo ships, icebreakers and submarines are increasingly being used, mainly from Russia. In addition, there is talk of the development of floating nuclear power plants and nuclear installations in the Arctic. However, many of these ships and installations are becoming obsolete.
In Norway, a large part of the population lives on the coast, so a nuclear disaster at sea would have major consequences. In the event of an incident, it is not inconceivable that many Norwegians will be exposed to radioactive substances, especially if the wind is in the direction of the coast. The danger is not fictitious: in August 2019, a radiation incident involving a Russian weapons system took place in the southern part of the White Sea east of Norway, resulting in several deaths.
Carrying out measurements at sea
In order to quickly obtain a good picture of the spread of radioactive particles in the event of a nuclear incident, the Coast Guard will deploy drones equipped with radiation detectors. To this end, the Coast Guard has partnered with the Navy and the Norwegian Nuclear Safety Agency. Last October, a team from this organization practiced measuring radiation using drones in the US.
The drones are an addition to the fixed detectors set up on the coast. As soon as a nuclear incident is suspected, the drones can be sent over the suspected area from a safe distance to take measurements. The drones can also be used during rescue missions and to carry out inspections.
First test of drones with radiation detectors
The ships with the drones onboard patrol both the North Sea and the Barents Sea. In May this year, the detection systems will be tested for the first time during an exercise at Bodø, in northern Norway.
(Source: The Barents Observer)
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