MIRROR: Low-Flying Helicopters Above DC Assessing Radiation Prior To Inauguration
Helicopters will be flying low over downtown D.C. and other areas in the region to assess radiation ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration began the flights on Monday.
The agency’s nuclear emergency support team aircraft will measure naturally occurring background radiation as part of standard preparations to protect public health and safety on the day of the event, according to a news release.
Such surveys are standard practice when it comes to emergency preparedness, NNSA says in the release.
Residents can expect to see daytime flights that may last about two hours each. Helicopters will fly in a grid-like pattern at an altitude of 150 feet or higher, and at about 80 miles per hour.
The NEST aircraft is a component of the Aerial Measuring System, an NNSA program designed to perform surveys of radiation and contamination in the event of a radiological emergency. The program is headquartered at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
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