Assessing the effectiveness of airborne thermal technology for delineating environmental thermal effluent
Master of Environmental Studies
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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Bruce Power Generating Station is located on the shores of Lake Huron and is responsible for generating 30% of the Province of Ontario’s electrical need on a daily basis. Lake Huron is the 5th largest freshwater lake by volume and provides cool lake water to cool the steam generated by the CANDU® reactors. The resulting thermal effluent is regulated and must be monitored to ensure the generating station does not exceed the values published in the operating certificate. Current monitoring is conducted through a series of surface temperature probes at strategic locations. Airborne thermal cameras provide a new dimension to thermal data acquisition and have been tested in smaller capacities on similar industrial complexes. This study compares data collected by surface probes, FireMapper 2.0 (a longwave frame-based thermal camera), longwave thermal data collected by Landsat 8 TIRS, and surface models generated using the CORMIX software suite. The results from this study suggest a strong correlation between the data collected by FireMapper 2.0 and Landsat 8 TIRS. The trend of the ground samples is similar to the data collected by FireMapper 2.0, but a large offset exists between the data sets. Furthermore, the CORMIX model is able to estimate the surface area occupied by thermal effluence, but the spatial bounds of the model require refinement. This study concludes that airborne thermal sensors are sensitive enough to collect useful thermal data for effluence delineation. Some further investigation is required on integrating navigation solutions to generate better accuracy within the FireMapper 2.0 frame-based solution. As well, the study area seemed to reach the extents of the capture abilities of FireMapper 2.0. Airborne thermal technology is worth considering for future effluent research.