What happened at Chernobyl?
The first thing you should know about nuclear power plants is that they are facilities in which nuclear reactors use radioactive materials as fuel, producing heat energy and electrical energy as a result. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was one of them.
When did happen?
On April 26, 1986, the RBMK No Four reactor at the nuclear power plant exploded and caught fire during a low-power test, which destroyed the reactor building and released massive amounts of radiation.
According to some sources, two people died in the first explosions, while others report the number to be close to 50. Several people suffered more serious radiation sickness, and some of them died as a result. Several times more radioactivity was released into the atmosphere than was created by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon reaching Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, the radioactivity spread westward as far as France and Italy. Forests and farms have been polluted on millions of acres. Clearly, it was a disaster for the environment. Although it has been years since the explosion, it is still dangerous to visit the site. Fortunately, drones are there to aid us in mapping studies in dangerous places.
How far did Chernobyl radiation spread?
This video shows that how far did Chernobyl radioactive cloud expansion.
Chernobyl Map Project
Bristol University is working closely with Ukrainian institutes to develop robots that can map radiation in the CEZ. Through the Mapping Chernobyl project, new, effective methods will be developed to almost eliminate direct human risk and improve monitoring and mapping. Professor Tom Scott, project leader, comments: “This unique environment also allows us the opportunity to test novel fixed-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) equipped with radiation mapping capability to demonstrate that, in the event of a nuclear incident, it could be possible to use a UAS instead of manned aircraft to provide real-time situational data about the spread and intensity of the radiation.”
Routescene UAV LiDAR mapping technology helped you run the Chernobyl forest
In a complex, hazardous environment like this nuclear field, Routescene’s LidarPod provided accurate data collection and high-resolution outputs. Aerial robotics expert Dr Kieran Wood explains: “One of the research goals is to develop a more accurate method for mapping the radiation pattern in an area. Part of this process requires a highly accurate 3D model of the physical structure and terrain, making Lidar an ideal choice for 3D mapping in complex terrain. Since most of the radioactive material is found in soil, we only needed a bare earth model, and Lidar’s post-processing can provide this with high accuracy.”
Radiation contamination in the Red Forest is well known. It was evident that the results were uneven. There are still some areas that remain highly contaminated and pose a danger to visitors.
An unexpected hotspot was identified. It was revealed that this area was the site of an old waste separation facility. Initial clean-up efforts contaminated this area. It was difficult to identify this area from satellite imagery.
As a result the UK team created a protocol for mapping radiation levels in the event of a nuclear accident. They learned a lot from their time in Ukraine and created detailed maps of the area that can be used to ensure security in the future. Other results are expected to be published soon.
Radiation Live Map
You can find the Chernobyl radiation levels in this live map.