The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will bar drone flights over seven major U.S. nuclear sites including:
- Hanford Site, Franklin County, Washington;
- Pantex Site, Panhandle, Texas;
- Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico;
- Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho;
- Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina;
- Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
These new airspace restrictions will become effective on December 29, 2017. There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restricted areas, and drone operators will need to coordinate flights with the individual facility and/or the FAA.
This is the first time the agency has placed specific airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft over DOE sites. Earlier this year, the FAA placed similar airspace restrictions over 133 U.S. military facilities. They also banned drone flights over 10 U.S. landmarks, including several iconic landmarks and dams.
Drone operators who fail to comply with the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.