2011-06-28 03:01:18Wildfire threatens Los Alamos National Lab -- CNN
John Hartz
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Talk about the shit hitting the fan!

Wildfire threatens Los Alamos National Lab

By the CNN Wire Staff, June 27, 2011 11:41 a.m. EDT

CNN) -- The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico will be closed Monday as fire crews battle a wildfire raging nearby, a statement on the facility's website said.

"All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site," the statement said. "Employees are considered nonessential and should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers."

A spokesman for the New Mexico State Forestry Division, however, told CNN the order to evacuate Los Alamos was voluntary, and stressed that there is no immediate threat to the facility.

The Los Conchas fire, which flared up Sunday afternoon, was reported to be less than a mile from the lab's southwestern boundaries late Sunday, another statement from the facility said.

The fire has spread across nearly 44,000 acres, according to state officials. Approximately 100 local residents have been evacuated, and nearby Bandelier National Monument has been closed for at least three days, they said.

Special crews have been dispatched to Water Canyon near the lab to protect the facility, according to the statement.

"All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected," the lab said.

Los Alamos, a center of American nuclear science, is one of the nation's top national-security research facilities.

It "enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns," its website says.

The lab is located about 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on 36 square miles of property owned by the Department of Energy. More than 11,000 employees work at the facility.

It is a joint project of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and the Washington Division of URS, operated for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

 

 

2011-06-28 23:43:21Wildfire closes Los Alamos National Laboratory for another day -- CNN
John Hartz
John Hartz
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98.122.98.161

Wildfire closes Los Alamos National Laboratory for another day

(CNN) -- A raging wildfire near the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico will keep the facility closed for a second day on Tuesday as firefighters battle brisk winds and warm temperatures, authorities said.

"No other fires are currently burning on Lab property, no facilities face immediate threat, and all nuclear and hazardous materials are accounted for and protected," a statement from the lab said.

An estimated 8,000 people evacuated Monday, according to Kelly Stewart, a spokeswoman for Los Alamos County. About 3,000 people left their homes after officials issued a voluntary order Sunday night, she said.

The Las Conchas fire, which flared up during the weekend, was reportedly about a mile from the lab's southwestern boundary Monday night, according to a statement on InciWeb, an online interagency database that tracks fires, floods and other disasters.

The fire, which has spread across nearly 44,000 acres, is burning to the north and northeast, according to InciWeb. It was 0% contained as of Monday night.

Additionally, a one-acre spot fire was reported on the lab's property, at its southern boundary.

"Air crews dumped water at the site within the Lab's Technical Area 49 and brought the blaze under control," a statement from the lab said.

Los Alamos, a center of American nuclear science, is one of the nation's top national-security research facilities.

The fire near the lab has raised concerns about whether hazardous materials kept there are being adequately guarded. Authorities say they are.

"They have anticipated the problem of fire, and they've taken precautions," Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico said Monday. "The structures that are central to the operation of the laboratory are well protected."

The lab is about 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on 36 square miles of property owned by the Department of Energy. More than 11,000 employees work at the facility.