First demonstration of aerial gamma-ray imaging using drone for prompt radiation survey in Fukushima

S. Mochizuki*, J. Kataoka, L. Tagawa, Y. Iwamoto, H. Okochi, N. Katsumi, S. Kinno, M. Arimoto, T. Maruhashi, K. Fujieda, T. Kurihara, S. Ohsuka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Considerable amounts of radioactive substances (mainly 137Cs and 134Cs) were released into the environment after the Japanese nuclear disaster in 2011. Some restrictions on residence areas were lifted in April 2017, owing to the successive and effective decontamination operations. However, the distribution of radioactive substances in vast areas of mountain, forest and satoyama close to the city is still unknown; thus, decontamination operations in such areas are being hampered. In this paper, we report on the first aerial gamma-ray imaging of a schoolyard in Fukushima using a drone that carries a high sensitivity Compton camera. We show that the distribution of 137Cs in regions with a diameter of several tens to a hundred meters can be imaged with a typical resolution of 2-5 m within a 10-20 min flights duration. The aerial gamma-ray images taken 10 m and 20 m above the ground are qualitatively consistent with a dose map reconstructed from the ground-based measurements using a survey meter. Although further quantification is needed for the distance and air-absorption corrections to derive in situ dose map, such an aerial drone system can reduce measurement time by a factor of ten and is suitable for place where ground-based measurement are difficult.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberP11014
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 17


  • Dosimetry concepts and apparatus
  • Photon detectors for UV, visible and IR photons (solid-state) (PIN diodes, APDs, Si-PMTs, G-APDs, CCDs, EBCCDs, EMCCDs etc)
  • Scintillators, scintillation and light emission processes (solid, gas and liquid scintillators)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics


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