WASHINGTON, D.C. ― The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE/NNSA) conducted a low-altitude helicopter flight over portions of the Arlington, Va., area July 22 to measure naturally occurring background radiation.
Officials from NNSA announced that the radiation assessment covers approximately three square miles. A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System from Joint Base Andrews, was equipped with radiation sensing technology.
The helicopter flew in a grid pattern over the area at 150 feet (or higher) above the ground surface, at a speed of approximately 80 miles per hour. Flyovers occur only during daylight hours and are estimated to take about three hours to complete.
The measurement of naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels is a normal part of security and emergency preparedness. NNSA is making the public aware of the flights so that citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.