Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The feds will deploy a nuke-sniffing helicopter to Tampa for upcoming Super Bowl

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2021 at 3:12 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA DOE/NNSA
  • Photo via DOE/NNSA
Tampa residents may notice a low-flying helicopter presence next week.

In preparation for Super Bowl LV, which is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 7, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced that on Monday one of the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) Bell 412 helicopters will begin measuring naturally occurring background radiation in the Tampa area.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because this is pretty much the plot of the 1991 Tom Clancy novel The Sum of All Fears, which is essentially about the detonation of a nuclear “dirty bomb” at the Super Bowl. (The film version, oddly enough, stars Tom Brady's ex, Bridget Moynahan.)

“The aerial surveys are a normal part of security and emergency preparedness activities,” says NNSA. “By calculating the normal amount of radiation occurring in an area, the NEST team is able to quickly recognize unusual levels before, during, or after an event. DOE/NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.”

The low-level helicopter flights will run from Feb. 1 through Feb. 3, and will be in a grid pattern from an altitude of 150-feet or higher during daylight hours at approximately 80 mph. The agency emphasizes that no other types of surveillance will occur during these flights.

This post first appeared on our sister website Creative Loafing Tampa.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation