WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Helicopters have been conducting radiation tests above portions of the Washington, D.C. area using remote gamma radiation sensing technology.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been flying the radiation missions since Dec. 27, 2012 and they will continue until next Friday, Jan. 11. The flights have been conducted during daylight only, and the pilots fly about 80 miles per hour at 150 feet above the approximately 70-square mile radiation assessment area.
Naturally-occurring radiation is measured so that baseline levels can be established and used in security and emergency preparedness, reads a statement from the NNSA.
In addition to monitoring radiation levels and responding to radiological emergencies on the home front, the agency provides the U.S. Navy with nuclear propulsion and works to reduce the global danger of weapons of mass destruction, according to a release issued by the agency.