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Low-Level Helicopter Flights to Continue Through Tomorrow

Many Alameda residents have noticed a low-flying helicopter over Alameda these past few days. It’s taking measurements of naturally-occurring background radiation, and the flights will continue through tomorrow.

A Monday, August 27th notice from the Oakland Police Department explained that the helicopter would be making daily flights over parts of San Francisco, Oakland and Pacifica, between August 27 and September 1st. According to the statement:

The flyovers are a part of a joint research project between the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and theNational Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to assess natural background radiation levels. The survey will cover approximately 69 square miles over the selected locations. NNSA’s twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System in Las Vegas, Nevada, will perform the survey.

The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the locations about 300 feet above the ground. The flights will be limited to daylight hours and the survey is estimated to take about five days to complete.

The background data will be used by DNDO and NNSA to improve aerial radiation measurement capabilities used by local, state and federal entities.

This helicopter is performing a low-level radiation survey over parts of the Bay area. (National Nuclear Security Administration)

3 comments to Low-Level Helicopter Flights to Continue Through Tomorrow

  • cg

    “Naturally-occurring”, that is, since all the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the 1950s-60s increased the pre-nuclear background level. Oh, and Chernobyl…It will be interesting to find out what the “new normal” is.

  • Barb

    No, no , no, that’s not it at all. The measurement is to find the new normal after the radiation from the latest disaster from Japan hit us.

  • cg

    It’s all cumulative. There’s a new [as of June 2012] report on just the radiation cleanup at Bldg 5. Its only 5 inches thick! More studies are needed, it says in the Exec Summary. Bldg 5 is smack dab in the middle of the area Alameda will use for future homes/businesses.

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