Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Radiation monitoring from high altitudes

Since the tragic results of nuclear bombarding of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, concerns about the potential for exposure to ionising radiation have risen dramatically. A Russian research institute has developed four different methods for radiation monitoring in the most reliable and accurate way. Employing aerospace facilities, such as balloons, helicopters or even satellites, the new method may provide effective means for detecting environmental radiation hazards.
Radiation monitoring from high altitudes
Exposure to radiation depends on many factors, including the amount of the received radiation and the duration of exposure. Very high doses of radiation can kill cells and damage tissue, leading to cancer, cataracts, and even cause injury of the central nervous system. On the other hand, there is a consensus that any level of radiation exposure bears some risk, especially for subjects exposed for long periods.

Since 'safe' radiation levels is considered a very relative term radiation protection measures for large population groups relies heavily on accurate radiation monitoring. Such methods are based on the absorption of the various types of energy radiated or transmitted as rays, waves, or in the form of particles. Similarly grounded, the new methods have been developed according to the registration of radiation absorption by atomic hydrogen or by hydroxyl (OH).

More specifically, there have been different proposed methods developed including a passive distance for environmental radiation monitoring and an active (absorbent) for radioactive discharges registration. The other two involve a method of masking nuclear energy and a method of the estimation of uranium deposits arrangement and other uranium-containing minerals. All methods feature high sensitivity of surveillance of radiation levels and are capable of providing reliable and accurate results.

The methods may be easily implemented with the aid of aerospace techniques and devices, such as balloons, helicopters, aircrafts and satellites. From a distance of not less than 25km to the area under investigation, they may be safely applied. By continuous monitoring and timely warning of radiation levels, they may significantly contribute to the protection of humans and environment from hazardous radiation exposure.

Related information

Record Number: 80854 / Last updated on: 2005-09-18
Domain: Environment