The Federal Aviation Administration has officially designated seven Department of Energy (DOE) facilities as drone no-fly zones, restricting UAVs from being operated within 122m / 400ft of any of the following sites:
- Hanford Site, Franklin County, WA
- Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
- Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
- Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
- Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
- Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
All seven sites are nuclear facilities (though not all of them are active), including multiple research facilities. The FAA has established the no-drone designation at the DOE’s request, doing so under its Title 14 authority. The FAA refers to these new bans as UAS National Security restrictions, and they’ll become effective on Friday, December 29. The agency will soon update its B4UFLY app to show the new restricted airspace.
According to the FAA, there will be select instances in which a drone operator could get a permit to fly within one of these restricted regions, though the operator will need to get permission from the FAA and/or the facility itself. The cases in which these permits may be granted weren’t specified. These new restrictions follow similar ones applied to Department of Interior facilities and military bases.
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