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Los Alamos scurries to protect nuclear lab from fire

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Zelie Pollon
Reuters
June 29, 2011

New Mexico fire managers scrambled on Tuesday to reinforce crews battling a third day against an out-of-control blaze at the edge of one of the nation’s top nuclear weapons production centers.

The fire’s leading edge burned to within a few miles (kilometres) of a dump site where some 20,000 barrels of plutonium-contaminated waste is stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, fire officials said.

Officials for the government-run lab said the stored waste is considered low-level radioactive material and remains a safe distance from the fire in an area cleared of trees and other vegetation.

Carl Beard, director of operations for the lab, said there has been no release of radioactive or hazardous materials into the environment and there was no immediate threat to public safety, “even in these extreme conditions.”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 3:23 am





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