Mitsubishi to develop, market camera capable of 'seeing' radiation

November 16, 2012

By YUKI TAKAYAMA/ Staff Writer

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. plans to begin sales in February of a special camera capable of "seeing" radiation from cesium and other radioactive materials.

The portable camera, which will apply technology jointly developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is designed to allow for more efficient clean-up of radioactive contamination, an issue of great concern in Japan because of the nuclear disaster last year.

The camera will use technology now in place on observation equipment aboard the ASTRO-H X-ray astronomy satellite operated by JAXA.

Tadayuki Takahashi, a professor of space physics at JAXA and project manager of the ASTRO-X, said, "The camera can measure radiation in high places, such as on roofs, and will lead to more efficient decontamination of radiation."

Using two types of semiconductor sensors, the direction and strength of gamma rays emitted by radioactive materials such as cesium are measured and brought to light as a superimposed image on the visible landscape.

The camera will have a 180-degree angle of view and will be able to capture images from as far away as 30 meters.

The camera will weigh 8 kilograms, but will cost several tens of millions of yen, putting it out of the reach of most individual users.

MHI officials are hoping to sell the camera to local governments and are also considering setting up leasing arrangements that would allow for use of the camera over a specified period.

By YUKI TAKAYAMA/ Staff Writer
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A prototype of the special camera captures an image of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The areas with colorful gas-like clouds are where high levels of radioactive materials can be found. (Provided by JAXA)

A prototype of the special camera captures an image of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The areas with colorful gas-like clouds are where high levels of radioactive materials can be found. (Provided by JAXA)

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  • A prototype of the special camera captures an image of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The areas with colorful gas-like clouds are where high levels of radioactive materials can be found. (Provided by JAXA)
  • An experimental model of a portable camera capable of capturing radioactive cesium is shown to reporters in Tokyo's Minato district on Nov. 15. (Yuki Takayama)

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