The U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE/NNSA) Aerial Measuring System (AMS) deployed personnel and equipment to partner with the U.S. Forces in Japan (USFJ) to conduct multiple aerial radiological surveys. These were the first and most comprehensive sources of actionable information for U.S. interests in Japan and provided early confirmation to the Government of Japan as to the extent of the release from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Many challenges were overcome quickly during the first 48 h, including installation and operation of Aerial Measuring System equipment on multiple USFJ aircraft, flying over difficult terrain, and flying with USFJ pilots who were unfamiliar with the Aerial Measuring System flight patterns. These factors combined to make for a programmatically unanticipated situation. In addition to the challenges of multiple and ongoing releases, integration with the Japanese government to provide valid aerial radiological survey products that both military and civilian customers could use to make informed decisions was extremely complicated. The Aerial Measuring System Fukushima response provided insight into addressing these challenges and gave way to an opportunity for the expansion of the Aerial Measuring System’s mission beyond the borders of the U.S.
*Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis, P.O. Box 98521, Las Vegas, NV, 89193-8521; †National Security Technologies, LLC, P.O. Box 98521, Las Vegas, NV, 89131-8521.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
For correspondence contact: C. Lyons, Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis, P.O. Box 98521, Las Vegas, NV, 89193-8521, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Manuscript accepted 25 January 2012)