Industry becoming more aware of the advantages of drones has led to an increased demand for pilots who have the specific knowledge and skills to fly in industrial settings.
The ECITB’s new course, created in collaboration with the UK Drone Association, ARPAS-UK, provides an understanding of drone functionality and how to conduct operations on industrial sites safely, effectively and efficiently.
For Amanda’s team in the Remote Technologies Group, which manages Sellafield’s fleet of UAVs, remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) and robotics, the work it does “is all about keeping people away from harm”.
In the first six months of this year, there were 100 asset inspections and 150 upskilling flights carried out at Sellafield by its team of operators, who won an award for innovation at the first ever Nuclear Manufacturing Awards in October.
Amanda added: “It’s about keeping people from harm in the first instance. If we can minimise people entering high dose areas or working at height for inspections, that is a big win.
“Drones allow us to accelerate programmes. We have a large site and waiting to scaffold jobs can result in plant downtime. We can avoid that by using drones to inspect assets and get details over to engineers to make quicker decisions.”
Course ‘representative of scenarios’
Sellafield also put a member of its Emergency Duty Team (EDT) through the course to see if the rest of the cohort would benefit.
Tom Calverley, Radiometric Physicist at Sellafield, is on the EDT and was part of a trial to explore the possibility of attaching a rad sensor to a drone to measure radiation as Sellafield looks to tap into the “massive potential” of UAVs.