It's not a scene from The Sum of All Fears, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will fly a helicopter over Baltimore today and tomorrow to map background radiation, CBS Baltimore reported on Tuesday. The helicopter, from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), will fly as low as 150 feet and will map the naturally occurring radiation on the ground.
CBS Baltimore wrote:
So if there’s ever a dirty bomb threat in Baltimore, Homeland Security will be able to take to the sky and pinpoint exact communities where radiation levels are abnormal. Then officials on foot may be able to find the bomb more quickly.
Similar testing has already been done in Washington DC and on the west coast with that helicopter flying as low as 150 feet from the ground.
According to the NNSA, the flyover is part of a research project by DHS' Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. It will use a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter that travels at about 80 mph. The agency said that the helicopter is scheduled to "periodically" fly over Baltimore for the next few years.