NEW YORK – The federal government is conducting radiation tests at the site of the Boston Marathon as part of its emergency preparedness for a nuclear attack.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, NNSA, issued a statement Wednesday explaining a helicopter will be flying at low altitudes over the city Friday through Sunday to measure naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels, which is “a normal part of security and emergency preparedness.” The marathon is scheduled for Monday.

On March 25, President Obama, while attending the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, said he was more worried about a terrorist nuclear weapon being detonated in Manhattan than about Russian intentions in Ukraine.

“So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia’s actions are a problem, but they don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States,” Obama explained. “I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”

In 2005, WND published “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” which explained how a terrorist group with ties to the Iranian nuclear weapons program could smuggle an improvised nuclear device into New York City and detonate it with catastrophic consequences.

At last year’s Boston Marathon, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring an estimated 264. The suspects were two Muslim brothers from Chechnya, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The NNSA announcement warned residents that a helicopter “may be seen flying at low altitudes while the radiation assessment is conducted and will cover approximately 10 square miles.”

NISA describes itself as a semi-autonomous agency, established in 2000 within the U.S. Department of Energy, responsible for enhancing natural security through the military application of nuclear science.

The Weekly Standard noted the U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO, issued a report in 2006 that found “significant benefits” to the type of radiation survey NISA is planning for Boston.

The surveys can be used to help compare changes in radiation levels to “help detect radiological threats in U.S. cities more quickly” and “measure contamination levels after a radiological attack to assist in and reduce the costs of cleanup efforts.”

Without a baseline radiation survey, the GAO explained, cleanup crews would not know the extent to which they would have to decontaminate the area.

The GAO report noted that in 2006 the only U.S. city to have conducted an aerial radiation survey was New York City, where in 2005, the New York Police Department asked DOE to conduct a survey of the New York City metropolitan area at a cost of $800,000.

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