The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will use drones to support the Arab world’s only peaceful nuclear energy program, the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi. Falcon Eye Drones, a leading drone company in the Middle East, is working to strengthen the role of drones in increasing workplace safety, the primary reason being that these tools can significantly accelerate inspection activity. The goal is to produce clean electricity in the next 60 years.
In addition to helping to ensure the safety and reliability of the country’s $ 32 billion power plant, drones can also have a positive impact on the cause of the environment in this area, where this topic is not yet strongly emphasized. The development is expected to offset some 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, equivalent elsewhere to the point of 3.2 million cars disappearing from the country’s roads each year. It also shows that the United Arab Emirates has begun to develop alternative energy sources, including nuclear and solar, despite significant oil and gas reserves.
At the same time, the long delayed opening of the power plant was not only a positive assessment. Some experts are concerned about the potential risks, ranging from an environmental disaster to a nuclear arms race, that Barakah could pose for the Arabian Peninsula. To the detriment of safety, power plant operators have been accused of cheap construction, lacking solutions that are standard in modern European facilities. It is also a matter of concern that nuclear facilities in the Middle East are a major target for airstrikes. For all these reasons, several have questioned why the UAE, which is extremely rich in sunlight and wind, considers nuclear energy, which is much more expensive and risky than renewables, so important.
Regardless of these issues, it is worth knowing that drones play a vital role in monitoring the condition of nuclear sites around the world. They offer many advantages over traditional terrestrial technologies, the first of which is security, but not to mention the extremely accurate mapping and time savings.
There are often situations where workers at a power plant are forced to enter high-dose areas because otherwise the safe operation of the plant cannot be ensured. A drone is a great help in this case. Thanks to the proliferation of UAVs, it is now possible to exclude people from this type of work, eliminating hazardous radiation exposure.
Of course, only special drones optimized for this purpose can be used in nuclear power plants. One such drone prevalent in the United States is the Elios, which can operate at radiation exposures of 800 Rem / h. (This is certainly a lethal dose for humans, as fatalities already occur at 200 Rem and varying degrees of blood counts between 50 and 100 Rem).The cyber security of the device used in nuclear power plants is a central issue, which in the case of Elios is achieved by the system not being connected to the Internet at any point.