Second phase of NNSA aerial flyover underway Monday

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The National Nuclear Security Administration has arranged for the Remote Sensing Laboratory/National Aerial Measuring System  (RSL) of Las Vegas, Nev., to provide a high-fidelity aerial survey of the Los Alamos townsite Monday.

The survey, conducted via helicopter, is to ensure that any and all legacy radiological contamination sites have been identified and effectively cleaned up.  

Residents may see the helicopter make several passes at about 300 feet above ground over and near the Los Alamos town site to measure for background radiation.

“Our objective,” said NNSA Los Alamos Site Office Manager Kevin Smith, “is to make sure we have fully captured the Manhattan Project and Cold War legacy disposition sites, that they have been effectively cleaned up, and to give the community confidence in our environmental stewardship.”

Information from the survey will be made publically available as part of the developing 50-year Environmental Stewardship and Action Plan website, which will accessible later this year.

The Remote Sensing Laboratory performed the same survey over Los Alamos National Laboratory in August. The silver and blue Bell 412 helicopter is equipped with sodium iodide detectors designed to sense gamma emitters including cesium and americium.  

Shortly following the survey, the RSL will provide NNSA’s Los Alamos Site Office with preliminary results. If any area has readings above background levels, LASO will immediately have the area evaluated and addressed as appropriate.