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Unmanned drone to overfly Japan nuclear plant

Last Updated: Saturday, April 9, 2011 - 16:55

Tokyo: Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Saturday it was planning to send an unmanned drone over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to help it assess the extent of damage at the stricken plant.

The company will use a `T-Hawk` micro air vehicle developed by US conglomerate Honeywell as early as Sunday to record video images of crippled reactors 1 through 4, a Tepco spokesman said.

The drone will be operated by a Honeywell engineer, he said.

“It is like a small helicopter. It will be able to fly over the areas in and above the Fukushima Daiichi plant where we have not been able to see because of the high level of radiation,” he said.

Engineers are battling to cool reactors at the plant, which was disabled by the March 11 tsunami that hit northeast Japan, sparking the world`s worst nuclear emergency since Chernobyl.

The T-Hawk, small enough to be carried in a backpack, is equipped with video cameras that relay data to a portable handheld terminal, according to Honeywell`s website.The system has been used by the US military in Iraq to monitor enemy movements from the sky, Honeywell said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, April 9, 2011 - 16:55

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