Monday, January 7, 2013

NNSA Helicopter Measuring Background Radiation Levels Over Washington DC

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was the one that sent a special team to Japan in March 2011 to measure the radiation levels after the start of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. (See my previous post).

From CBS News (1/5/2012):

Nuclear Security Helicopters Testing Radiation Levels Above DC Area

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.

NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so that citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed by the helicopters conducting the tests. The NNSA’s Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) out of Joint Base Andrews will be performing the assessment for local law enforcement of Washington, D.C, according to the organization’s Dec. 26 press release.

NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operations currently collaborates with more than 80 foreign governments and 10 international organizations with projects ranging from providing assistance to foreign governments in improving their emergency preparedness and response programs, to joint collaborative activities to improve emergency management infrastructure worldwide.

(Full article at the link)


Anonymous said...

Good! An opportunity to get a baseline in the USA east coast. Now to see if its shared. A FOIA request will not be needed, will it? Taxpayer dollars used...

Anonymous said...

Some of us are still waiting for published results from the radiological survey of King and Pierce counties in Washington done in the summer of 2011...and Berkeley done in August 2012...

Anonymous said...

I doubt they will share any actual numbers if they say anything it will probably be a comparison against bananas, chest X-rays or air travel. If they give out hard numbers it will make it harder to fudge them if researchers find inconsistencies. It's kind of funny how the government waited over a decade after 9/11 to get a "dirty bomb" baseline I'm "sure" it doesn't have anything to do with a major multiple meltdown the year before. The melt down probably screwed up their old surveys. The EPA has already shown the way for other governmental agencies.

"In the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused to answer questions or to explain the exact location and number of monitors, or the levels of radiation, if any, being recorded at existing monitors in California, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

On March 21, 2011, the EPA pulled 8 of 18 air monitors in California, Oregon and Washington state that track radiation from Japan’s nuclear reactors out of service for “quality reviews.”

By April, 2011 the EPA had temporarily raised limits for radiation exposure by rewriting its Protective Action Guides (PAGs) to radically increase the allowable levels of iodine-131 by 3,000 times, a 1,000-fold hike for exposure to strontium-90, and a 25,000-fold increase in exposure limits to radioactive Nikel-63.

The EU followed suit by implementing an “emergency” order without informing the public that increased the amount of radiation in food by up to 20 times previous food standards, according to Kopp Online and Xander News. According to EU bylaws, radiation limits may be raised during a nuclear emergency to prevent food shortages."

"News reports from the US west coast throughout August indicated that government helicopter were seen flying at low altitudes in cities such as Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle measuring radioactivity in the air, the San Francisco Examiner and MSNBC reported.

The choppers were contracted to measure radiation along the West Coast by the US Department of Homeland Security, which has not released any data about its findings, said the Examiner.

The department has maintained a position that radiation reaching the US West Coast after the Fukushima disaster was insignificant."

Anonymous said...

The Washington state health service released the results of the survey they contracted through the DOE. I can't get the pdf's to open so I can't say how detailed they are.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the Washington State radiological survey report and it was pretty tame. The only real radioctive standouts were hospitals and cancer patients who had recieved Chemo therapy. A better measurement was conducted by the University of Washington on the air filters in the science wing of the campus. Hot particles were detected and measured. On average Seattle residence were breathing in 5 hot particles a day for March and April of 2011. I was there and my kids were exposed to this as well.

Anonymous said... Why was the NNSA the primary responder to ground zero on 9/11?

Ground Zero: "The place of a NUCLEAR explosion".
~Websters dictionary, 1999.

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