The Aerial Measuring System (AMS) provides a sophisticated radiation detection system that supports NNSA’s mission to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents globally. AMS provides real-time measurements of ground contamination. By quickly surveying very large areas that could not easily be accomplished otherwise, AMS aircraft (helicopters and fixed-wing) support NNSA’s efforts to respond to radiological emergencies. The system’s capacity to detect radiation is one of the first tools used to inform important decisions about public protection, and helps decide where to deploy NNSA, state, local, and other Federal agency’s ground monitoring and response teams. In addition, AMS supports Department of Energy Field Offices, interagency training exercises, and other Federal, State, and local agencies in support of their missions.
Radiation is all around us. Commonly occurring materials, including building materials like brick, granite, and concrete, are very slightly radioactive. Even bananas are radioactive! AMS can tell the difference between naturally occurring and man-made radiation signatures from the air, and can even distinguish golf courses by the tiny radiation signature from fertilizer.