Yesterday’s helicopter buzzing was brought to you by…

A NNSA helicopter flies low over the Richmond District on February 1, 2016.

A helicopter flies low over the Richmond District on February 1, 2016. Photo by Derek.

…the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. We noticed them in 2012 when they last buzzed the ‘hood. The helicopter is conducting aerial tests to assess natural background radiation levels.

If they are performing the same sweep as they did in 2012, the chopper, which belongs to the National Nuclear Security Administration, will cover about 69 square miles over San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland.

The helicopter flies in a grid pattern about 300 feet above ground during daylight hours.

Federal officials say the data will be used as background to help local, state and federal entities measure radiation levels in the future.

Some more about the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office:

    The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is a jointly staffed office within the Department of Homeland Security. DNDO is the primary entity in the U.S. government for implementing domestic nuclear detection efforts for a managed and coordinated response to radiological and nuclear threats, as well as integration of federal nuclear forensics programs. Additionally, DNDO is charged with coordinating the development of the global nuclear detection and reporting architecture, with partners from federal, state, local, and international governments and the private sector.

Sarah B.


  1. All true, but sometimes they are more explicit than others (for example http://www.hstoday.us/briefings/daily-news-analysis/single-article/nnsa-conducts-background-aerial-radiation-assessment-survey-of-boston-area/1b92c7702877bfb875de6d8b2e2b7f14.html ) – “establish baseline levels of naturally occurring background radiation in large metropolitan cities that can be used in the event of a dirty or nuclear bomb threat by comparing the baseline data to unnatural spikes in certain types of radiation in an attempt to identify the location of a bomb or bombs.”

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this information about the helicopter. I was definitely wondering why it was flying around on Monday!

  3. I never knew they used helicopters for nuclear detection of specific tests. Man you guys in the U.S are really ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest tech…

  4. Informative comments . I loved the analysis . Does anyone know if I might get access to a blank Employee Injury Report Form version to complete ?

Comments are closed.