SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A helicopter may be seen flying at low-level altitudes over parts of San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland this week, but authorities said the public shouldn’t be alarmed.

The helicopter isn’t searching for suspects on the loose, but rather was taking measurements of naturally occurring radiation, Oakland police said.

The flyovers, which would take place Monday through Saturday, were a part of a joint research project by the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and the National Nuclear Security Administration to assess natural background radiation levels.

The survey would cover about 69 square miles, and would be performed by the NNSA’s twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, which is operated by the Las Vegas-based Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System in Las Vegas.

The helicopter would fly in a grid pattern about 300 feet above ground. The flights would be limited to daylight hours.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

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

The first helicopter flights are scheduled to depart from Oakland at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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