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Radiation-seeking copter buzzes Back Bay

Helicopter flies between skyscrapers in Boston.

Matthew George watched one of the National Nuclear Security Administration's helicopters fly low over the Marathon route today for our annual background-radiation check.

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Comments

They thread between the buildings with ease, it was pretty cool to watch.

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How feasible would it be, either right now or in the near future, to do the survey more often and less intrusively using, say, a three-pound drone?

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I think that would be highly dependent on the equipment needed for the scan. Specifically, the weight of the equipment.

Aside from that, it's a piece o' cake. Drones can be programmed to fly a specific grid pattern. Not sure what the FAA would think of it, though, especially flying over populated areas.

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Years ago several transfer stations I know of had small radiation detectors near the weigh-in scales.
Back then, hospitals just let their low level stuff (gloves, etc) get picked up by the 'trash guy' and it was a lot cheaper than doing it right. So, the stations and dumps (for instance Johnson in RI) had to install the radiation detectors.

This is several generations removed from those days, so I would think that a combination of detector and GPS would be easy to do.

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