National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA to conduct aerial radiation assessment survey over Las Vegas Strip

December 28, 2018

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The Aerial Measuring System (AMS) provides specialized airborne radiation detection systems to provide real-time measurements of low levels of air and ground contamination.

LAS VEGAS – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) will conduct low-altitude helicopter flights over the Las Vegas Strip and its surrounding areas Dec. 29 and 31 to measure naturally occurring background radiation.

The public may see a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, which is equipped with radiation sensing technology and is operated by the Nevada National Security Site’s Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System at Nellis Air Force Base.

The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the areas at 150 feet (or higher) above the ground at a speed of approximately 80 mph.  Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours.

The measurement of naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels is a normal part of security and emergency preparedness.  NNSA conducts these surveys each year in Las Vegas before the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so that people who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.

Click here for video footage of past flights by NNSA’s Aerial Measuring System.