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Low-flying helicopter to measure radiation in Berkeley via Berkeleyside

According to a statement published by the city of Berkeley, the helicopter is expected to fly over San Francisco, Pacifica, Berkeley and Oakland between Tuesday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 6.

The helicopter is slated to be in Berkeley on Wednesday, in both the morning and afternoon.

According to the city’s statement, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, are partnering on a program “to improve the U.S. government’s ability to detect nuclear and radiological material.”

The program is focused on improving aerial radiological detection, in part by “equipping helicopters with sensors to detect radiation on the ground.” It is called the Airborne Radiological Enhanced-sensor System program.

Established by Congress in 2000, the National Nuclear Security Administration “is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.” The agency “maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.”

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One Response

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  1. norma field says

    The role of possibly protecting citizens “responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad” seems almost an afterthought to NNSA’s mission.

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