AI can predict the spread of nuclear fallout in advance to save lives

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Researchers have built an AI capable of predicting the spread of nuclear fallout in advance to limit the impact and save lives.

The fallout occurred from a nuclear power plant accident is going to be devastating. Aside from the human impact, we’ve only got to look at Chernobyl to see how the environment can remain damaged for decades.

A new AI system developed in Japan, developed by a team from the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, can accurately predict the spread of nuclear fallout up to 33 hours in advance.

Armed with this information, evacuations can begin and emergency responders can allocate resources where needed to ensure the impact is limited as much as possible.

The researchers’ system takes into account many variables, including the use of weather forecasts to predict things such as wind speed and direction to see where – and how far – nuclear material will travel.

Takao Yoshikane, a researcher from the project, said:

“Our new tool was first trained using years of weather-related data to predict where radioactivity would be distributed if it were released from a particular point.

In subsequent testing, it could predict the direction of dispersion with at least 85 percent accuracy, with this rising to 95 percent in winter when there are more predictable weather patterns.”

Nuclear reactor meltdowns result in high temperatures which catapult radioactive material up to 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) into the air. This means it can end up in the upper troposphere that can spread fallout across the world.

A video showing the AI calculating the hourly distribution of radioactive material can be found below:

The researchers’ project demonstrates how AI can be used to analyse situations and take into account many different variables.

Despite the complex calculations made, the resulting information is provided in a simple manner which can be acted upon quickly to save lives and limit the impact of disasters.

What are your thoughts on the use of AI to predict the impact of disasters? Let us know in the comments.

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